Is 'Jaws' the Key to Solving a Decades-Old Murder Mystery?

Playing Does ‘Jaws’ Hold the Key to 40-Year-Old Murder Mystery?

Does the iconic movie "Jaws" hold the answer to a murder mystery that has baffled authorities for 40 years?

Back in 1974, a teenage girl was walking her dog in Provincetown, Massachusetts, when she stumbled onto a gruesome scene: a body, lying face-down and badly decomposed on a beach towel. 

The woman has never been identified, though authorities have released a composite sketch, and no arrest has been made. The cold case is known as "The Lady of the Dunes."

However, a blue bandanna and a pair of jeans folded up under her head at the scene may be a significant clue.

Joe Hill, a New York Times best-selling author and son of legendary author Stephen King, says he was watching his all-time favorite movie when it hit him. 

"I was watching 'Jaws' and suddenly I sort of prickled all over with goosebumps and, you know, stiffened in my seat," he told Inside Edition.

In one scene involving dozens of extras is a woman in jeans and a blue bandanna.

“She bears a shocking resemblance to ‘The Lady of the Dunes,’” he added. 

Hill believes the woman in that scene may have been murdered not long after "Jaws" was filmed.  

“This moment was probably filmed some point in June, the body of the 'Lady of the Dunes' was found at the end of July," Hill said. 

The scene was shot on Martha’s Vineyard, about 100 miles from where the woman's body was found in Provincetown. Director Steven Spielberg was known to have used many locals as extras when he made the film.

A headstone in the town's Saint Peter's Cemetery has an inscription that reads: "Unidentified female body found Race Point Dunes July 26, 1974."

Inside Edition spoke to former Provincetown Police Chief Warren Tobias, who worked on the case for more than 20 years.

"I think she resembles her — I will give you that — but the odds are pretty slim," he told Inside Edition. 

Joe Hill book cover
Joe Hill, whose new book is pictured above, says he saw the woman in "Jaws." HarperCollins

Hill, whose new book "Strange Weather" is a collection of four short novels, concedes his theory may just be his vivid imagination at work.

"The only thing that's gonna carry weight on this particular theory is if the girl in that scene raises her hand and says, ‘Hey, I’m still alive,'" Tobias added. 

You can read an excerpt from Joe Hill's book here

Excerpted from STRANGE WEATHER by Joe Hill, published by William Morrow, copyright © 2017 by Joe Hill. Reprinted courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers. “Snapshot” first appeared in a different form in Cemetery Dance: The Magazine of Horror and Suspense, copyright © 2018 by Cemetery Dance Publications.

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