Was Cold Case Murder Victim 'Lady of the Dunes,' an Extra in 'Jaws'? Movie Could Hold Answers to Mystery

A woman found dead in 1974 known only as the "Lady of the Dunes," was confirmed last week to be Ruth Marie Terry. Now some are wondering if the movie "Jaws" holds more answers to the long-standing mystery.

Does the blockbuster movie "Jaws" hold the key to a nearly 50-year-old cold case murder? 

Ruth Marie Terry, who was known until recently only as the “Lady of the Dunes,” was found dead on July 26, 1974 in the Race Point Dunes in Provincetown, Massachusetts.  

Her remains were discovered by a teen girl walking her dog who happened upon a gruesome scene. Terry’s body was badly decomposed and found lying face down on a beach towel.  

“The victim's hands were missing, presumably removed by her killer so she could not be identified through fingerprints, and her head was nearly severed from her body,” FBI Special Agent Joseph Bonavolonta told reporters.  

She suffered a blow to the head that was fatal weeks before her remains were found, investigators said. Her name was not known, but a blue bandana and a pair of jeans found at the scene folded up under her head held the key to the mystery. 

Best-selling horror writer Joe Hill, son of legendary writer Stephen King, has been fascinated by the mystery for years. “Someone had gone through a great effort to make it nearly impossible to identify her,” Hill tells Inside Edition.  

Investigators announced one week ago that the Lady of the Dunes had finally gotten her identity back.  

“We can finally say her name: Ruth Marie Terry,” Massachusetts State Police Col. Christopher Mason said.  

Terry was 37 and came from Tennessee.  

The question of who killed Terry remains. Police believe it may have been her husband of just a few months, Guy Rockwell Muldavin, who died in 2002.  

Muldavin had a criminal history. He was arrested in 1960 in connection with the disappearance of his second wife and her daughter after mutilated remains, believed to be theirs, were found in their home in Seattle, Washington, United Press International reported that year. He fled Seattle and was later arrested in Brooklyn, New York, and charged with "unlawful flight to avoid giving testimony relating to mutilation of human remains," the FBI told the Associated Press at the time. 


He also faced charges for conning his third wife's family out of $10,000 around the time his second wife went missing, the AP reported. He was convicted in 1961 on those charges and sentenced to no more than 15 years, according to the Erie Times-News. Muldavin, a former antiques dealer, was given a suspended sentence in the case provided that he repay the money he took and he was freed in 1962, the AP reported. Investigators are working to determine if murder charges were filed against Muldavin in connection with the deaths of his second wife and her daughter. They have contacted law enforcement in Seattle.

Terry’s nephew Jim Terry told The New York Times he last saw his aunt in July or August of 1973. Jim Terry’s mother thought she was going to California, and his father thought she was “headed up North,” he said. 

One theory Hill has is that Terry could have been an extra in the iconic movie “Jaws.” 

In one scene of the film, a woman can be seen with other extras leaving a ferry. She’s wearing a blue bandana and jeans, which appear to be the same clothes Terry’s remains were found with.  

“The woman, in that moment, bore a striking resemblance to the facial reconstruction of … the Lady of the Dunes,” Hill says. 

“Jaws” was shot on Martha's Vineyard in May of 1974. Terry’s body was found two months later about 100 miles away, in Provincetown. 

“I'm sort of fascinated by the idea that for decades afterwards, every time Jaws came on TV, he saw his dead wife turning her head to stare out of the screen at him,” Hill says. “There's something sort of chilling in that notion.”

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