Uncovering The Unsolved: Volume 2



Delaney Rice

DNA testing is constantly evolving and unsolved cases from as long as decades ago have been reopened and receiving new information. There are millions of unsolved homicide, kidnapping, and crime cases all over the world that investigators have not been able to solve due to the lack of DNA testing. Now that our scientists have been working tirelessly to evolve this process, unsolved cases have been rapidly reopening. 

The age-old case of The Lady of the Dunes has been reopened and is currently being further investigated. Due to an advancement of genealogy and at home DNA testing, authorities have identified The Lady of the Dunes. 

On July 26th 1974, a young girl was walking her dog along the beach of Race Point Dunes when she discovered a mutilated, decomposing woman’s body. As authorities arrived, they discovered that she had been deceased for at least a week. Her Wrangler jeans were neatly folded underneath her nearly severed head. Her killer had also removed her hands, presumed to have done that to avoid her identification from fingerprints. Her killer had also used a blunt object to hit her head, which is said to have been the initial cause of death. The Lady of the Dunes is said to have been between 25-35 years old at the time of her death, 5’6 and approximately 140 pounds. She had auburn hair that was pulled back into a ponytail. Detectives also noticed that she had about 5,000 dollars worth of dental work done to her teeth. They sent the records to dentists all around Massachusetts, even including some surrounding states, to hopefully find the dentist who performed the work, but there was no luck there. The case was soon closed after no further information and she was buried in Saint Peter the Apostle Cemetery in Provincetown. 

Nearly 50 years later, a 64 year old man in Michigan named Richard Hanchett, who was adopted very young, had hopes to find his biological mother. He took an at home DNA test to locate his biological mother and ended up finding family in Tennessee. He took a trip down and that was when he found out she had been missing for almost 50 years and none of them have seen or heard from her since. On October 31, 2022, the F.B.I released that The Lady of the Dunes has been identified as Ruth Marie Terry, from Tennessee. Mr. Hanchett was asked to submit a DNA sample and it was discovered that Ruth Mary Terry was in fact the biological mother of Richard Hanchett. Having DNA from Richard discovered a possible father. Investigations continue to find her killer, although it is said that her killer may possibly be dead, but there is a chance and they are working to find them.

This breakthrough brought closure to the family and detectives, but this case is not quite over yet. They continue to search for her killer and do further DNA tests, and taking tips from the public. Hopefully we get gratification soon, but until then, this case isn’t over yet. Stay tuned for Volume 3 of Uncovering the Unsolved.