PROVINCETOWN, Mass. (WPRI) — After nearly 50 years, investigators have finally confirmed the identity of the “Lady of the Dunes.”
The FBI’s Boston office revealed Monday the woman found mutilated in Provincetown in 1974 was 37-year-old Ruth Marie Terry.
Othram, a forensic genealogy company based in Texas, received the remains earlier this year.
“The DNA from these bones was really, really difficult to work with because it was treated with formaldehyde, so that causes DNA crosslink that makes it really difficult for you to be able to actually break that DNA and get it in a place where you can actually read it and build one of these profiles,” the lab’s Kristen Mittelman said.
It takes the Othram 12 weeks to get a sample that mimics fresh DNA.
“We work with burnt remains, we work with remains that were found in sewage tanks for decades, so you can imagine the contamination, remains that are found underwater,” Mittelman said.
Now the FBI will continue its search for Terry’s killer.
“It’s almost impossible to figure out what happened to someone if you don’t know their identity,” Mittelman explained. “And now she has her name back and the investigators are working around the clock to try and figure out what happened to her.”
The FBI is asking the public to review newly released images of the victim and contact them at 1-800-CALL-FBI with any information related to the case.
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