The Lady of the Dunes, A 1974 murder victim was finally identified this week as a Tennessee woman named Ruth Marie Terry, married months before her death to a now-dead man, authorities say. That man has reportedly been questioned about his death else by his many wives.
Guy Rockwell Muldavin, born in 1923, was known by a few names, including Raoul Guy Rockwell and Guy Muldavin Rockwell, according to a news release Wednesday from Massachusetts State Police, the Cape & Islands District Attorney’s Office and the Provincetown Police Department.
Ms. Terry, who was 37 at the time of her death, may have had other names, according to the release. These include Teri Marie Vizina, Terry M. Vizina and Teri Shannon.
She was found dead on the beach near Provincetown, Cape Cod in July 1976, her body mutilated beyond recognition. The death earned her the nickname The Lady of the Dunes for nearly 50 years before the FBI announced Monday that it had identified the victim using forensic genealogy.
Her body had been exhumed many times over the years in unsuccessful attempts to figure out who the Lady of the Dunes might really be.
When the FBI released her name on Monday, they said Ms. Terry had known connections to California, Massachusetts, Michigan and Tennessee.
Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe said Wednesday that the victim and Muldavin had a known “connection between the two in other states at some other time… We are now doing our best to try and put the two together in Massachusetts and specifically Provincetown,” the Cape Cod Times mentionted.
This is not the first time Muldavin has made national headlines in connection with a gruesome murder.
In 1960, he was arrested for questioning after pieces of flesh were discovered in the septic tank of his former home in Seattle. The pieces are believed to be the mutilated remains of his missing ex-wife and her 18-year-old daughter.
Called a “once-wealthy antiques dealer” by UPI at the time, Muldavin was arrested in New York for questioning and is also “wanted by Seattle police on charges he fraudulently obtained $10,000 from his now-wife’s stepmother, the former Evlyn. Emerson, under the guise of using the money to buy antiques in Canada.”
The victim, Manzanita Mearns, was his second wife. According to media reports from the time, she was not jailed for her murder or that of her daughter, Dolores. Muldavin married Ms. Terry in the months before her murder in the summer of 1974, investigators say, but the two women were among at least five husbands.
Muldavin died in 2002, according to public records. At the time, he was married to a woman named Phyllis, who died last year.
Massachusetts State Police Col. Chris Mason said Monday that the Lady of the Dunes case still haunts “generations” of officers involved and expressed his condolences to Ms. Terry’s loved ones who similarly remained unanswered for years.
“We know Ruth had family and friends who loved her,” he said after her identity was announced. “And we know that this development has not been easy for them. So we keep them in our thoughts today during this difficult time. Certainly, in their years of contact with her, they never envisioned the outcome for the child, the teenager, the young woman they knew, loved and cared for. We hope today’s announcement helps shed some light on the many questions they’ve had over the years and marks another step toward answering more of them.”
Mr Mason said that, “nearly half a century since her voice was silenced in the most horrific way, we are focusing our work entirely on determining what Ruth Marie Terry did with her life. to that which led her to the easternmost point of our state, to the dunes of Provincetown.”