In November 1978, the remains of a woman were discovered buried under leaves on a logging road off Amherst Road in Granby, Massachusetts. The woman was found in the woods by loggers and at the time of her discovery, investigators could make few estimates about what she might have looked like or who she might have been. The case was entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) as UP14969.
The remains of a woman discovered Nov. 15, 1978 have been identified as Patricia Ann Tucker, born July 28, 1950. Later married names for her were Patricia Heckman, Patricia Dale, and, at the time of her disappearance and death, Patricia Coleman.
After the discovery of Tucker’s remains, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled that the cause of death was a bullet wound to the temple and the manner of death was homicide. The office estimated that she had been dead since about June of 1978 and that she was between 19 and 27 years old.
Determining Tucker’s identity, however, proved troublesome in the decades that followed, until recent advances in DNA technology opened new and promising avenues. About two years ago, Massachusetts authorities engaged the services of Othram, a private forensic laboratory based in Houston, Texas. Othram obtained Tucker’s DNA profile and, Othram's in-house genealogy team developed investigative leads that eventually led to a woman in Maryland who was likely related to the murdered woman. Police contacted that woman, who in turn led them to Tucker’s adult son. Comparison of his DNA to Tucker’s DNA resulted in a 100% parent/child match. Tucker’s son was just five years old when she disappeared.
“Unsolved cases sometimes seem to go cold, but investigators never give up,” said Northwestern District Attorney David E. Sullivan. “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 victim’s family.”
Tucker’s remains have been buried in a Granby cemetery with a headstone marked “Unknown” for decades. Though the victim has now been positively identified, the identity of her killer has yet to be determined.
“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 E. Gagne. “This investigation has spanned decades, and will continue until each and every possible lead is explored.”
Subsequent investigation revealed that Tucker was married to Gerald Coleman at the time of her death. 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. Gerald Coleman never reported his wife missing, and died in a Massachusetts state prison in 1996. Police say Gerald Coleman is a person of interest in his wife’s murder. Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to contact the Granby Police Department by phone 413-467-9222), email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or by submitting a message through their website (granbypd.org).