‘Lady of the Dunes’ was killed by husband in 1974 shortly after wedding, officials say

The “Lady of the Dunes,” a nameless murder victim found along the Massachusetts shoreline in 1974, was identified last year as Ruth Marie Terry.

Now, Terry’s husband has been identified as her killer, bringing a close to an infamous case that went unsolved for nearly 50 years, according to an Aug. 28 press release from the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office.

Terry’s body was spotted on the dunes of Provincetown on July 26, 1974, having sustained blunt force trauma.

“Her head was ‘nearly severed’ from her body and her hands were missing, likely in an attempt to hinder identification efforts,” according to previous reporting from McClatchy News.

Despite repeated attempts to solve the case, state and local authorities remained stumped for decades. But, thanks to advances in DNA technology, her remains were finally identified in October.

In the months following her identification, state police were able to conclude that her husband, Guy Muldavin, had killed her, officials said. Muldavin died in 2002.

Terry married Muldavin in 1973 or 1974, potentially weeks or months before her death, officials said.

The pair were confirmed to have traveled together around the time of her death in the summer of 1974, officials said.

Only Muldavin returned from the trip. And, at the time, he was believed to be driving Terry’s car and telling people she had died, officials said.

When Terry’s brother tried tracking down his sister, Mulvadin reportedly told him “they had a fight during their honeymoon, and he had not heard from his wife again,” officials said.

Mulvadin was also considered the main suspect in the disappearance of his previous wife and stepdaughter, officials said. The pair went missing in the Seattle area in the 1960s.

“The District Attorney expresses his deepest condolences to the family of Ms. Terry,” officials said.

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