Nearly 45 years after a woman was found shot to death on a logging road in western Massachusetts, investigators have identified her through advanced genetic testing.
Patricia Ann Tucker, 28, was found buried under leaves off a road in the town of Granby on Nov. 15, 1978, investigators said at a news conference Monday. She had been shot in the head.
For decades, the woman known as “Granby Girl” was buried in a local cemetery with a headstone marked “Unknown.”
About two years ago, Massachusetts authorities obtained Tucker’s DNA profile through a forensic laboratory and eventually identified a woman in Maryland who was likely related to her, Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan said. Police contacted the woman. She led them to Tucker’s son, who was 5 years old when Tucker vanished. Comparison of his DNA to Tucker’s resulted in a 100% parent/child match.
“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,” her son, Matthew Dale, said in a statement read at the news conference by First Assistant District Attorney Steven Gagne. “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.”
It’s not yet known who killed Tucker, who had been married several times. She also was known as Patricia Heckman and Patricia Dale. At the time of her disappearance and death, she was known as Patricia Coleman, married to Gerald Coleman. The two were living in East Hampton, Connecticut.
Police say Coleman, who died in a Massachusetts state prison in 1996, is a person of interest in his wife’s death. He didn’t report that she was missing.