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MA LADY OF THE DUNES: WF, 27-49, found in Provincetown, MA - 26 July 1974

Discussion in 'Unidentified 1900 to 1979' started by Akoya, Sep 19, 2016.

  1. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

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    Akoya Bronze Member

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    Akoya Bronze Member




    Uno2Much, RedRose, GarAndMo49 and 2 others like this.
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  6. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member


    Cape murder haunts police chief

    By Teresa M. Hanafin GLOBE STAFF SEPTEMBER 06, 1987

    This story is from the Globe archives. It originally appeared Sept. 6, 1987.

    PROVINCETOWN -- Thirteen years ago, a beagle sniffing around the dunes of Provincetown, its young owner nearby, made a gruesome discovery: the body of a young woman who had been brutally murdered.

    The body -- badly decomposed, its skull crushed, the head severed at the neck, the hands cut off and missing -- has never been identified, the killer never found.


    Chief Meads

    Related | Farragher: The mystery of Provincetown’s Lady of the Dunes

    Earlier this summer, a woman in her early 20s who lives in Canada told an acquaintance a bizarre tale: she said she remembered seeing her father strangle a woman in Provincetown about 15 years ago, Meads said.

    The Royal Canadian Mounted Police were notified and they, in turn, called Meads and the Massachusetts State Police. In the meantime, the woman moved

    from western Canada to the Montreal area, and police are trying to track her down. When she is found, a member of the State Police Crime Prevention and Control Unit in South Yarmouth and Meads plan to travel to Canada to interview her.

    Then, last week, a woman from Maryland called Meads to say that she had not heard from her sister since the sister moved to Boston in 1974 -- the year of the murder. She also said her sister had auburn hair, the same color as the murder victim’s.

    RELATED | 2000: Police hope second exhumation will identify victim

    It is that relentness pursuit of any and all leads, tips and hunches that has marked Meads’ investigation of the only unsolved murder case out of the handful he has encountered during his 17 years as police chief.

    “Ever since this happened, Jim won’t leave a stone unturned,” said Dr. Stanley M. Schwartz, head of diagnosis at the Tufts University Dental School and the state dental forensic examiner who pieced the murder victim’s skull and teeth back together.

    “He has told me that he’ll never quit, and he never has. He’ll follow any lead. He’s a very intelligent, well-trained and experienced police officer. And very dogged.”

    Meads was 41 years old and had been Provincetown’s chief of police just four years when the body of “The Lady in the Dunes” was found in a dense grove of scrub pine trees about 2 1/2 miles east of Race Point, on July 26, 1974.

    The woman, estimated to be 25 to 30 years old, about 5 feet, 8 inches tall with a big-boned, athletic build, had been killed by a blow to the left side of her skull.

    She was found nude, lying sideways on a light green, terrycloth beach blanket. Her dungarees and blue print bandanna were folded neatly under her head as though used as a pillow. Her blouse never has been found.

    Her long, reddish-brown hair was held back with a barrette. On her teeth were seven gold crowns, worth about $5,000 to $8,000 at the time. She had been

    sexually molested with a wooden object, evidently after her death.

    Although pathologists said she had been dead only four or five days, the July heat and dune flies had left the body badly decomposed.

    Since there was no sign of a struggle and the bed of pine needles on which she lay was undisturbed, Meads believes she knew her assailant and was asleep when attacked.

    Schwartz reconstructed the teeth, jaw and skull, and Dr. Clyde Snow, a renowned forensic anthropologist for the Civil Air Medical Institute of the Federal Aviation Administration, now retired, created a clay model of the woman’s features.

    Photographs of the model and artists’ renderings of the sculpture, were circulated worldwide. Desperate for leads, Meads got articles on the case published in dental journals and police and detective magazines. Thousands of dentists were contacted in an effort to locate the one who had done the expensive dental work. Meads appeared in national magazines and on network television. He has traveled extensively following leads.

    In the intervening years, Meads has received thousands of letters and phone calls. About 50 have been able to supply dental records, but none have matched.

    There have been seemingly promising leads. There was the man in prison in Maine who kept drawing pictures of women without hands; the women at a Provincetown campground who reported their friend missing -- she later turned up.

    Meads even consulted psychics; one told him he would find the hands buried under a building at a certain address. It turned out that a cellar had been dug just the previous year.

    On one side of Meads’ office, the stack of papers on the case stands 2 to 3 feet tall. In another corner, the victim’s skull sits in a cardboard box, waiting for an identity. A chunk of the skull about the size of a hand is missing, and a jagged 8-inch crack runs across the top.

    Meads, now 54, is the only law enforcement official who has worked on the case continuously since the body was discovered; everyone else has either retired or been reassigned. He is contemplating retiring in three years when he will have 30 years of service.

    “With most murders, you try to figure out who the murderer was,” he said quietly. “I’ve spent years trying to figure out who the victim was.”

    Today, Meads is more resigned. “As the years dwindle on, more dentists will retire or die, more dental records will be lost and the opportunity for identification will diminish,” he said. “Maybe someone on death row will decide to cleanse his soul before he dies and confess to this murder.

    “It appears that someday I’ll retire and the case still won’t be solved. But I’m sure whoever follows me in this job, if they get a lead, they’ll call me. And I’ll be ready.”

    Meanwhile, every so often he pulls out the file and thumbs through it. Or stares at the skull.

    “There’s always been something special about this case to Jim Meads,” Schwartz said. “He looked at it like, this is a human being that had something horrible done to her. He wants to identify her so the perpetrator can be brought to justice. He has always felt a contact of some sort with that young woman.”

    Meads had the body buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery in Provincetown, and a stone there reads, “Unidentified female.” Schwartz said that for years, somebody placed a small vase containing flowers at the marker every July 26.
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  7. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member


    The Doe Network:
    Case File 119UFMA


    Unidentified White Female

    • Located on July 26, 1974 in the Race Point Dunes, Provincetown, Barnstable County, Massachusetts.
    • Cause of death was a blow to the head.
    • Estimated Date of Death: 10 days to three weeks.
    • Her nickname is The Lady in the Dunes

    Vital Statistics

      • Estimated age: 25 - 40 years old
      • Approximate Height and Weight: 5' 6-1/2"; 145 lbs.
      • Distinguishing Characteristics: Long, auburn or reddish-blond hair. Athletic body. 34" waist, 31" legs. Her hair was tied in a ponytail with a rubber-type barrette. Her toenails were painted pink.
      • Dentals: Extensive dental work. She had gold crowns on her teeth worth $5000 up to $10,000 at that time. The dental work was done in what dentists call "the New York style" of dental work. Dental charts available.
      • Clothing: Jeans were found at the scene. She wore a elastic barrette in her hair. She lay on one half of a light green, heavy cotton beach blanket.
      • DNA: Available

    Case History

    The victim was discovered in the dunes about a mile east of the Race Point ranger station in the summer of 1974.
    The woman's hands were missing -presumably removed by the killer so she could not be identified through fingerprints - and her head was nearly severed from her body with an instrument similar to a military entrenching tool. The left side of her skull had been crushed. No weapon was found at the site.
    Her nude body was discovered lying on a beach towel with her head resting on her folded jeans. There was no sign of a struggle, and the woman lay on half the towel, as if she'd been sharing it with a companion.
    The body was exhumed in 2000, in an attempt to confirm her identity.


    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Provincetown Police Department

    By Mail:
    Provincetown Police Department
    26 Shankpainter Road
    Provincetown, MA 02657
    You may remain anonymous when submitting information.

    NCIC Number:
    Please refer to this number when contacting any agency with information regarding this case.

    Source Information:
    Provincetown Banner
    Message from Chief of Police - Provincetown, MA
    Cape Cod Times
    People Magazine
    Anthro Design Works

  8. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

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    Uno2Much and spike like this.
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    HADDEN CLARK - set of 2 drawings - CRIME CONTENT - ( Lady in the Dunes

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    Akoya Bronze Member

  15. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

    On July 26, 1974, the nude body of a woman was discovered

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  20. Scorpio

    Scorpio Bronze Member



    The following people have been ruled out as being this decedent:
    First Name Last Name Year of Birth State LKA
    Frances Ewalt 1949 Montana
    Vicke Lamberton 1949 Massachusetts
    Uno2Much, Kimster, RedRose and 3 others like this.

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