CAPE COD, Mass. (TCD) — Investigators officially closed the case of a woman who was found dead and nearly decapitated nearly 50 years ago in Provincetown and identified the suspect in her murder.
In October 2022, the FBI positively identified the woman, who was only known as the “Lady of the Dunes” for decades, as Ruth Marie Terry. She was found deceased in a sand dune July 26, 1974, with her hands cut off and her head “nearly severed from her body.” Investigators used investigative genealogy to identify Terry, who lived in Tennessee.
The FBI said Terry suffered “a blow to the head” and was most likely killed several weeks prior to her discovery.
According to the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office, Massachusetts State Police took over the investigation from Provincetown Police in 1982. Terry’s skull was put into police custody and not buried with her other remains. Investigators sent parts of the skull to labs for testing, and in 2021, Othram was able to create a DNA profile that eventually led to a positive identification.
The Chief Medical Examiner’s Office issued Terry’s death certificate April 5.
The District Attorney’s Office said Massachusetts State Police detectives homed in on Terry’s husband, Guy Muldavin. The two wed in 1973 or 1974 and traveled to Tennessee to visit her family. Muldavin and Terry traveled in the summer of 1974, but he returned alone. Muldavin reportedly “indicated to witnesses that Ms. Terry had passed away,” but told her brother they “had a fight during their honeymoon, and he had not heard from his wife again.”
NBC Boston reports Muldavin and Terry got married in Reno, Nevada, only a few months before she was killed.
According to the statement, Muldavin was allegedly believed to be “the prime suspect” in his ex-wife and stepdaughter’s disappearance in Seattle in 1960. The District Attorney’s Office said investigators “determined that Mr. Muldavin was responsible for Ms. Terry’s death in 1974.”
In November 2022, Massachusetts State Police announced they were seeking information about Muldavin, who also went by the name Raoul Guy Rockwell and Guy Muldavin Rockwell.
Detectives looked into the 1960 disappearance of his wife and stepdaughter and later located human remains in a septic tank of their home. The FBI arrested him for unlawful flight and he was convicted of grand larceny. However, he never faced any charges relating to the Seattle killings.
A news article dated Dec. 1, 1960, says Muldavin was arrested in New York City after Manzanina Mearns and her 18-year-old daughter Dolores Ann Mearns’ bodies were found mutilated in the septic tank. Detectives reportedly found dismembered remains and other parts of human tissue. Dolores and Manzanita disappeared April 1, 1960.
Muldavin was 78 years old when he died.
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