After more than four decades, authorities identified a woman found shot in the head. They claim that victim Patricia Ann Tucker, who died in 1978, was never reported missing by her husband, Gerald Coleman.
Authorities said they still have to determine who killed her. Coleman died in a Massachusetts state prison in 1996, they said.
The Northwestern District Attorney’s Office, Massachusetts State Police, and police in Granby, Massachusetts, announced the development in a joint press statement on Monday.
They said Tucker was found dead on Nov. 15, 1978, buried under leaves on a logging road off Amherst Road, authorities said. Investigators at the time could not identify her. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined she had been shot in the temple. They determined she died in June 1978 and was between 19 and 27. Tucker was born July 28, 1950, authorities said.
Locals buried her in a cemetery, marked as “Unknown,” but with the epitaph, “In God’s Care.” Investigators credit advances in DNA testing with their being able to identify her.
“About two years ago, Massachusetts authorities engaged the services of Othram, a private forensic laboratory based in Houston, Texas,” authorities wrote. “Othram obtained Tucker’s DNA profile and, through forensic genetic genealogy, identified a woman in Maryland who was likely related to her.”
Through this Maryland woman, they found Tucker’s adult son, who was 5 when his mother disappeared, authorities said.
“First, I would like to say thank you to everyone in trying to identify my mother and wrapping your arms around her, especially the community of Granby,” Tucker’s son Matthew Dale said in a statement through the DA’s office. “Thank you for never giving up on her. At least I have some answers now after 44 years. It’s a lot to process, but hopefully, the closure can begin now.”
Authorities said Tucker married Gerald Coleman in 1977.
“The two were married in 1977 in Middletown, Connecticut, and lived along the eastern shore of Lake Pocotopaug in East Hampton, Connecticut, at the time of her death,” they wrote.
Tucker went under the name Patricia Coleman when she died, previously living under the married names of Patricia Heckman and Patricia Dale, according to authorities.
“Unsolved cases sometimes seem to go cold, but investigators never give up,” Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan said. “The Massachusetts State Police, Granby Police and Northwestern District Attorney’s staff worked collaboratively for years to achieve this breakthrough in the investigation and—most importantly—provide some answers to the victim’s family.”
Police consider Gerald Coleman a “person of interest.”
“While it’s satisfying to finally know who ‘Granby Girl’ actually was, the investigation won’t stop until we identify her killer and bring the family an additional measure of closure and justice,” said First Assistant District Attorney Steven Gagne. “This investigation has spanned decades and will continue until each and every possible lead is explored.”
Authorities ask that anyone with information on this case call the Granby Police Department by phone at 413-467-9222, email Detective James White at [email protected], or by submitting a message through their website at granbypd.org.
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