A body found buried under leaves on a logging road in Granby in November 1978 has been identified as the remains of Patricia Ann Tucker, Northwestern DA David Sullivan announced Monday.
“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 after the announcement. “Thank you for never giving up on her. At least I have some answers now after 44 years.”
Tucker went missing at age 27, leaving behind a 5-year-old son who’s DNA would be key in identifying her body decades later. Despite the breakthrough, authorities said, her murder remains unsolved.
When the body was discovered, forensic examiners determined the victim — called the “Granby Girl” — been fatally shot around June 1978 and was between 19 and 27 but were unable to determine her identity, according to a DA release.
Tucker was buried in a grave marked “Unknown” for decades, before advancements in DNA technology led investigators to send Tucker’s DNA profile to a private forensic lab in Houston, Texas two years ago, the DA said.
“Unsolved cases sometimes seem to go cold, but investigators never give up,” said Sullivan, noting the collaborative efforts of Massachusetts State Police, Granby Police and the Northwestern DA staff.
Forensic investigators linked the DNA to a woman in Maryland, the DA release detailed, who in turn led them to Tucker’s adult son. A comparison of Dale’s DNA resulted in a 100% parent/child match.
“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 DA Steven Gagne. “This investigation has spanned decades, and will continue until each and every possible lead is explored.”
Police reported Tucker’s husband at the time of her death Gerald Coleman is a person of interest in her murder. The pair were living in East Hampton, Connecticut, around the period, and Coleman never reported his wife missing.
Coleman died serving an unrelated sentence in a Massachusetts state prison in 1996.
Anyone with information about this case is strongly encouraged to contact the Granby Police Department, the release stated.
“It’s a lot to process,” Dale’s statement read, “but hopefully, the closure can begin now.”