Watch CBS News

Massachusetts woman killed in 1978 identified after DNA match from son who was 5 when she vanished: "It's a lot to process"

'Granby girl' identified nearly 45 years alter
'Granby girl' identified nearly 45 years alter 09:00

Nearly 45 years after a woman was found shot to death on a logging road in western Massachusetts, investigators have identified her through advanced genetic testing.

Patricia Ann Tucker, 28, was found on Nov. 15, 1978.  A group of kids playing in Granby found her body on November 15, 1978 buried under a pile of leaves, stuffed underneath a log, CBS Boston reports. Investigators said at a news conference Monday that she had been shot in the temple and they believed she was killed about three months earlier in August 1978.

Patricia Ann Tucker Northwest District Attorney's Office

For decades, the woman known as "Granby Girl" was buried in a local cemetery with a headstone marked "Unknown."

About two years ago, Massachusetts authorities obtained Tucker's DNA profile through a forensic laboratory and eventually identified a woman in Maryland who was likely related to her, Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan said. Police contacted the woman. She led them to Tucker's son, who was 5 years old when Tucker vanished. Comparison of his DNA to Tucker's resulted in a 100% parent/child match.

"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," her son, Matthew Dale, said in a statement read at the news conference by First Assistant District Attorney Steven Gagne. "Thank you for never giving up on her. At least I have some answers now after 44 years. It's a lot to process, but hopefully, the closure can begin now."

Gagne said the "investigation won't stop until we identify her killer and bring the family an additional measure of closure and justice," according to CBS Boston.

"This investigation has spanned decades, and will continue until each and every possible lead is explored," he said

It's not yet known who killed Tucker, who had been married several times. She also was known as Patricia Heckman and Patricia Dale. At the time of her disappearance and death, she was known as Patricia Coleman, married to Gerald Coleman. The two were living in East Hampton, Connecticut.

Gagne said Coleman never reported his wife missing.

Police say Coleman, who died in a Massachusetts state prison in 1996, is a person of interest in his wife's death.

Anyone with information about the case should call Granby Police at 413-467-9222 or email

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.