SPECIAL REPORT (MyFoxBoston.com) --Jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean, historic Provincetown is the eastern most tip of Cape Cod, a place that attracts artists, tourists and beach lovers from around the world. But Provincetown is also home to one of the state's darkest mysteries: The Lady of the Dunes.
On July 26, 1974, a young woman's mutilated body was discovered in the race point dunes. To this day, no one knows the true identity of the lady of the dunes.
“It was horrifying. There's no doubt about it," said the woman who discovered her body.
Finding the body
Crime writer Sandra Lee was 9 years old in 1974, and camping with her family in the dunes of Provincetown.
Lee tells FOX25's Bob Ward that on the morning of July 26, as she was walking her dog, she stumbled upon the Lady of the Dunes.
“I looked into the brush, and I saw at that point in my life, the single most gruesome sight I had ever seen.”
Because she was afraid, she did not report the discovery to police, Lee told Bob Ward.
Police say another person walking her dog is the one who alerted authorities
Sandra Lee tells me she clearly remembers what she saw.
“She was naked. I could see an injury to the right side of her head and a little bit of a slice, which I believe they tried to cut her head off, police later said.”
Who is the Lady of the Dunes?
Over four decades, police have tried to find the lady's name, by recreating her face.
Using her exhumed skull, sketches have given way to high tech computer generated images, but still no one knows who she is.
And there is one good reason why the lady is refusing to give up her secrets. Both of her hands are missing, and some of the lady's teeth were pulled.
Clues to who killed the Lady
Sandra Lee says that could be a clue as to who killed the lady.
"They're still looking into the possibility of Whitey," she said.
Whitey, as in notorious South Boston crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger.
Sandra Lee remembers her stepfather at the time was an associate of Whitey Bulger's. Even as a child, Sandra remembers seeing Whitey Bulger in Provincetown.
“He was very recognizable to me as Uncle Jimmy. He was already very nice to me. He spent a lot of time on the waterfront, both in Boston, and in Provincetown. I think we both know why. They are giant drug ports."
But it is the way the lady was killed, and the steps taken to hide her identity, Sandra Lee believes, point right back at Bulger and his crew. One of Bulger's alleged victims: Debbie Davis was also dismembered, her hands cut off, her teeth pulled, her body left in a marshy area, much like the Lady of the Dunes.
“It fits the mold of whitey giving orders to somebody who knew too much and said too much. Because fingerprinting was basically the way people were identified back then. They wanted to do away with the hands. And that they did, the hands were never found. And the teeth? Was she missing teeth? They attempted to pull some teeth, they were successful in pulling some teeth," Lee said.
Whitey Bulger has never been officially linked to the Lady of the Dunes case, nor has anyone else.
For now, there are theories.Theories that will come into focus, if this long dead woman, found in the dunes of Provincetown, is ever given her name back.
“If nothing else, all this woman deserves, is her name,” Lee said
If you know anything about the lady of the dunes case, please call Provincetown Police at 508-487-1212.
Cox Media Group