The Trail Went Cold – Episode 17 – The Lady of the Dunes

July 26, 1974. The nude decomposed body of a young woman is discovered at the Race Point Dunes outside of Provincetown, Massachusetts. The woman has been murdered via blunt force trauma to the head, but carries no identification. In spite of an extensive investigation, police are unable to uncover the identity of the victim or her killer, so she simply becomes known as the “Lady of the Dunes”. Over the years, there are a number of intriguing leads in the case, including a potential connection to a notorious mobster James “Whitey” Bulger, and an alleged sighting of the victim in one of the biggest Hollywood blockbusters of all time. Join me for this week’s episode of “The Trail Went Cold” as I try to figure out the true identity of the “Lady of the Dunes”

As a bonus, this episode will also contain a review of the true crime book, “The Blood on My Hands”, an autobiography written by Shannon O’Leary, which is available for purchase at Amazon:

Also, please check out the Doe Network profile page for the “Lady of the Dunes”, which contains facial reconstructions for the victim, her vital statistics, and contact info for the proper authorities should you happen to know who she is:

Additional Reading:

“The Encyclopedia of Unsolved Crimes” by Michael Newton

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The Trail Went Cold is produced and edited by Magill Foote.

All music is composed by Vince Nitro.

7 thoughts on “The Trail Went Cold – Episode 17 – The Lady of the Dunes

  • I think the Jaws lead is intriguing, but most likely just a coincidence. While the extra does have some remarkable similarities to the Jane Doe, she really just looks like a very run-of-the-mill brunette in the early 70s. Jeans and head bandannas were extremely fashionable at the time, so it’s very possible that the extra and Jane Doe just happened to have the same outfit and hair. I’d be more inclined to believe they were one and the same if Jane Doe and/or the extra had some type of obvious scar or birthmark that you couldn’t have missed on camera. But there’s really nothing distinct about the woman in the movie.

  • Hey, first time commenting. But I had to as someone who grew up on Cape Cod and has lived in Boston for the last 12 years. We all hear about Lady in the Dunes. She gets brought up every few years or so in the news. It’s always stayed with me! First of all, it’s pronounced BARNstuble. A little thing I know, but it drives us all nuts. Secondly, as far as I know Whitey being a gay prostitute in his teens isn’t rumor. That’s pretty much taken as fact in Boston. And if you wanted to hide gay activities you probably wouldn’t go to P-Town. Then and now it’s known as gay town. (It’s great! Everyone should visit!) I dunno, I just can’t see this being Whitey. He and his gang were never that good or subtle in their killings. I’m check out the Jaws thing. But I also have to say most people on the Cape don’t go over to the Vinyard. It’s a long boat ride and you’re already on the Cape. Practically the same thing. But she may have gone over because a movie was filming.

  • Heyyyyy Robin!
    Been listening for a while now, and finally ….or unfortunately?!….Im just about caught up! Im Wicked psyched to hear that your going WEEKLY! Yeessssaaa!!! Lol! Or, as us Massholes say…Wicked Pissahhhh!! Lol! Actually I haven’t said pissah since high school, but seemed appropriate here, seeing as this is a Mass story and Im from Mass! I live right in between Boston and the Cape, and my parents went to P-Town often, probably twice a yr, once just them, and again with us (my younger brother and I) when we were younger (I was prob around 14/15 when my mom started taking us) and we would have soooo much fun going in all the shops, then we’d go into a bar called Gov’r Bradfords where my parents would play Backgammon at the game tables in the big windows…this particular bar, at least back then anyway (around 1989, and early 90s), was considered more of a “straight” hangout/bar, and more straight friends of mine go to P-Town for the day or whatever, than my gay friends do because its such a unique, fun place to go. The restaurants are varied and yummy, and you can get anything from a fancy dinning experience, to a laid back outdoor patio drink. The shops are just soo fun, and some are truly unique and absolutely crazy. What Im tryin g to say, I guess, is that Im not at all surprised to hear ANYONE went to P-Town, not even Whitey. And, that’d be my best guess, if I had to, in this case. She may have seen or heard something she wasn’t supposed to or said something to someone and it got back to the wrong person, and she was taken out, his style. That’s my thoughts on this case and where Ive been listening a while, I thought this was the perfect time to say Helllooooo!
    Ive been a true crime reader since as far back as I can remember! The first book that hooked me onto true crime is still hands down the best book Iver read (Im 43, and read this when I was around 15), is about Aurther Shawcross, called the Misbegotten Son, by Jack Olsen…OMG, this book is just sooo well written, and he writes it all in 3rd person! Very interesting story, too! When Aurther was first caught committing murder, it was for children, and he was jailed, served time, and released, where he then starting killing prostitutes! So, he was a rare bird to start, because as most true crime followers know, serial killers rarely change their MO! So, ya, needless to say, he was overlooked, a couple times! Anyway, this book was the first of many many manyyyy true crime books I have read and still stands out as the BEST one still. Im just surprised, of all the podcasts I listened to, no ones covered this one. I know you don’t do these types of cases on the podcast, Im wondering if you’ve looked into this case at all, and if so, have you written about it?
    Ok, so now that I wrote a novel, lol, I cant wait to hear more, and will be looking for the site your writing is on, and will be looking forward to more!! Thanks so much for all you do, and after Christmas, I want to donate, to show my appreciation for all your hard work!

    • Hi, thanks a lot for your support and your plans to donate. Greatly appreciated. Nice to hear a perspective from someone who actually grew up in that area. I’m actually not that familiar with the Shawcross case at all. It’s probably not something I’d feature on my podcast since it’s solved, but I’d certainly like to delve further into it.

  • If Whitey Bolger was a closeted homosexual and determined to cover up that secret at all costs, why would he go to a gay bar right out in public (and I don’t think it makes much of a difference that it was in Cape Cod since most tourists in Cape Cod are from in or around Boston anyway) when a big gangster could presumably have whatever kind of prostitute?

    If Bolger was openly going to gay bars, then that would make it more of an open secret. Based on the girl’s anecdote, the people in the gay bar knew and recognized him, and talked about it. And yet he didn’t kill them all

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