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.
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."
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.