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The Lady in the Dunes, Part Two

According to some news reports, the body--which wasn't discovered for anywhere from several days to a few weeks after the murder--was lying on a blanket in a position that suggested the woman had been sharing it with someone. As far as I know, there were no signs the victim had attempted to fend off her attacker, or escape.

From these two circumstances we can infer that the woman knew her assailant, at least well enough to share a beach blanket with whoever that was, and that she wasn't in fear of him. (Or her.) The circumstances also suggest that the attack was very quick and very effective; it was the crushing blow to the skull that killed the woman. If she didn't die immediately, she was certainly incapacitated. Any flicker of life would have been extinguished by the attempted decapitation. The only good thing about this case is that the victim never knew what was done to further defile her body. Whether she was the victim of a post-mortem sexual assault--yes, it happens--we do not know. That may be a detail investigators are withholding, which is something they do in order to weed out fake confessions from real ones.

An additional complication in solving this case is that Provincetown is a resort--a major tourist attraction on Cape Cod. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, literally thousands of daytrippers, weekenders, and longer term visitors descend on the place. Visitors wash in and out with the tide. Which is great for the local economy, but not so good for solving murders. Whoever killed the woman could have been a resident. Or a tourist. Perhaps he or she arrived in Provincetown with the woman. Perhaps he or she was someone she met that day.

What was the motive for the murder? Who knows, other than the person who committed the crime. It's possible she was the victim of a serial killer. Perhaps it was a crime of passion. Whatever the reason...it was important to the killer that the victim not be identified. And why did he or she fail to remove the head? Pressure of time? That would suggest that the killer was someone who had to leave Provincetown quickly--to catch the ferry back to Boston? Or maybe he or she was just afraid of a witness, someone strolling Race Point Beach, stumbling on the scene.

The Provincetown police appear committed to solving this case, even after all these years and no good leads. Perhaps the newest reconstructed images of the victim will help in identifying her. Somebody, somewhere, knew her. No one walks through life in total isolation. At the least, the marker on her grave should have a name on it.
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