Lady of the Dunes is a nameless woman brutally murdered and then left to rot at Race Point Dunes near Provincetown, Massachusetts. Her naked, mutilated body was discovered on July 26, 1974, but her identity remains a mystery almost 50 years later.
There are several theories about who might have murdered Lady of the Dunes. But, despite the efforts from law enforcement, there is still no indication of her identity.
The only thing worse than not finding a killer is not knowing how to honor the victim.
Discovery Of The Mutilated Body Of The Lady Of The Dunes
A girl was walking her dog and saw a naked body, already in a state of decomposition. The police were shocked to uncover that the woman's hands were removed, and so were her teeth. Clearly, the killer did not want the victim's identity to be discovered.
Her head was almost severed, and her skull was crushed. The investigators named her Lady of the Dunes, not even imagining that there would still be little to no information about the victim decades later.
The woman was 5'6-1/2" and weighed around 145 pounds. Her birth was somewhere between 1934 and 1949, meaning she was between 25 and 40 at the time of her murder.
The body had been lying yards away from a road for approximately two weeks based on the insect activity.
Under her body, there was a pair of Wrangler jeans and a bandana. Her nails were painted pink, and her dental work was pricey.
Despite not knowing anything about Lady of the Dunes, she was someone's daughter, maybe a mom, perhaps a partner. Giving her identity is more than cracking a cold case. It is the least any victim deserves.
Possible Theories About The Mysterious Murder Case Of Lady Of The Dunes
An unsolved murder and a nameless victim proved to be a nightmare to the police. Most of what we learned about Jane Doe is based on assumptions.
The police assumed that she was sexually assaulted by a wooden object, most likely post mortem. Her body was, most likely, placed as to look like she was sunbathing.
Next to the body of Lady of the Dunes were two footprints, size 10. After weeks and months had passed, the only thing left was to bury her body. So, on October 18, 1974, in Provincetown, Lady of the Dunes was laid to rest. However, her body would be exhumed several times in the following decades.
Due to lack of anything substantial, the police even considered a psychic's vision, but that led nowhere. Theories were flying, and some included a mobster, others a serial killer, but every story had holes so far. And none offered an insight into who was Lady of the Dunes.
In the 1980s, there were stories that the victim was an escaped convict, Rory Gene Kesinger. She escaped prison in 1973 and disappeared after. She was a drug dealer, and her connections to the underworld could explain the severed hands. Kesinger stole something and was punished, in theory. However, Kesinger's mother provided DNA samples, and they were not a match for the Lady of the Dunes.
What happened to Rory Gene Kesinger is another mystery, unsolved to this day.
A Canadian woman claimed she saw her dad killing a woman matching the description of Lady of the Dunes' description in Provincetown in 1974. However, the police could not follow through with this tip, and there was another piece that stood out: the Canadian woman claimed her father strangled a Jane Doe. However, that was not the case with Lady of the Dunes.
Another woman claimed her sister moved to Boston in 1974 and went missing., Again, the woman was not a match.
In 2018, Stephen King's son Joe Hill watched Jaws and was sure that he saw the unknown victim in one scene. Fifty-four minutes into the movie, a woman with a blue bandana was there. Even if Lady of the Dunes was an extra, this did not provide any information about her identity.
Victim Of The Mobster And Confessions Of A Serial Killer
James "Whitey" Bulger was a mobster who was never officially connected to Lady of the Dunes. However, there is a theory that connects the two.
Numerous people placed Whitey in Cape Cod in July 1974. He was known for pulling out the teeth of his victims. Also, Bulger was known to frequent a popular gay bar in Provincetown, The Crone & Anchor, close to where the victim was found.
The theory further suggested that Lady of the Dunes came from Ireland, and Whitey was half Irish. However, that is all quite far-fetched, and it still does not answer the question of how come no one ever said anything about the victim's identity.
There was a confession about the murder in 2000. Serial killer Hadden Clark told an inmate that he was the murderer, but the police did not believe him, as he has a habit of taking credit for others' crimes. Clark, who has paranoid schizophrenia, sent a drawing similar to the crime scene where Lady of the Dunes was found four years later.
He told the Boston Globe:
"I could have told the police what her name was, but after they beat the shit out of me, I wasn't going to tell them shit. … This murder is still unsolved, and what the police are looking for is in my grandfather's garden."
The police did not find a connection to Lady of the Dunes, despite finding jewelry that belonged to his victims in that backyard.
Other Speculations About Lady Of The Dunes
Cape Cod's creepy and saddening murder still follows this popular tourist destination.
Some speculated that this was a crime of passion, as Lady of the Dunes was found in a position similar to sunbathing next to another person.
Since it was an LGBTQ-friendly spot, there are theories that the murderer was a woman.
Either way, there is a high possibility that the killer knew the area well since the spot where the body was found was secluded. The theory also suggests that the victim was not from the site, maybe not even from the country.
This brings us back to the late James "Whitey" Bulger, allegedly involved in human trafficking. Again, there was no proof, and this is nothing more than hearsay.
Some online sleuths connected Lady of the Dunes to Valerie Cuccia. Valerie was 20 years old when she vanished. Again, nothing is connecting the two cases apart from the fact that Valerie disappeared around the same time as Jane Doe.
The case of Evelyn Colon's identity, revealed in march 2021, gives hope that Lady of the Dune will get her name back soon. Evelyn was murdered when she was 15, in 1976, in White Haven, Pennsylvania. Luis Sierra was charged with the murder of Evelyn, who was nine months pregnant.
Though the theories and gossip may harm an ongoing investigation, the case of Lady of Dunes is different. The more people show interest. The greater chances are that someone somewhere might connect the dots.
Another documentary called The Lady of the Dunes will be released in April 2022.
Her face has been reconstructed several times, and her body was last exhumed in 2013. The latest reconstruction shows a woman with and without freckles, with reddish hair, different from previous assumptions about Lady of the Dunes' appearance.
The Provincetown police continue working on the case, using the latest technologies, the same ones that put an end to The Golden State killer's reign of terror.