Mollie Chambers

Another week of quarantine calls for another week of binge-watching. This week I binged Buzzfeed Unsolved videos and stumbled across the unsolved case of the “Lady of the Dunes.”

This case stuck out to me because it is vastly different than any other case I have written about before. Not only has the case never been solved, but the victim’s body was never able to be identified, despite being exhumed three different times.

On July 26, 1974, a 12-year-old girl came across the body of a woman among the Race Point Dunes in Provincetown, Massachusetts. The woman’s body was placed face-down on a beach blanket as if she’d been sunbathing. However, the woman was nearly decapitated, and half of her head had been crushed. The most notable thing about the woman’s remains was her hands, which had been cut off, presumably to avoid identification.

Police believed the woman had been dead for anywhere from 10 days to three weeks. This meant that the body had already begun to decompose.

The evidence at the scene of the crime was slim apart from a pair of jeans and a blue bandanna.

The lack of evidence within this case has allowed for many theories to arise about the identity of the woman. Among these theories, my favorite is the one theorized by Joe Hill, whose father happens to be Stephen King. Once I found out Hill was Stephen King’s son, this theory intrigued me even more.

In June 2015, Hill was watching “Jaws” and came to a shocking realization. He noticed a woman working as an extra in one of the scenes showed a striking resemblance to the police sketch of the Lady of the Dunes. Not only did the woman look the part, but she was also wearing jeans and a blue bandanna, similar to those found at the scene of the crime.

Upon first hearing this theory, I found it hard to believe. However, after looking into it further I believe Hill might be onto something.

“Jaws” was shot between the months of May and October in 1974. The film was also shot only 100 miles away from the scene of the crime in Menemsha, Massachusetts. This means the film was shot around the same time and place the Lady of the Dunes was murdered.

In 2015 a reporter who heard about Hill’s findings reached out to Universal Studios to find the identity of the extra. However, no records were found, and the casting director for the film had already passed away.

Despite Hill reporting his theory to the police, the case of the Lady of the Dunes remains unsolved.

It surprises me that Hill’s theory didn’t pick up more traction in 2015, but I can only hope his theory resurfaces once again. Even if it turns out to be untrue, I think his theory could lead to this case being reopened.

Mollie Chambers is a freshman majoring in journalism and electronic media. She can be reached atmollcham@vols.utk.edu.

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