GRANBY, Mass. (WWLP) — For decades after she was found shot to death in 1978, she was known as “Granby Girl.” Now, her true identity is known, according to the Northwestern District Attorney and police in Granby, Massachusetts.
On November 15, 1978 a decomposing body of a young woman was found hidden underneath a log in the woods near Amherst Road in Granby. She was found shot in the head and likely died in June 1978.
Due to the limited technology of the times, there was no way to identify the body. Law enforcement canvassed the area for evidence and searched missing person reports but found no leads.
Thanks to recent advancements in forensic science, however, police were able to solve the case decades later. In March 2022, State Police connected to the Northwestern DA’s office and the State Police Crime Lab submitted a biological sample of the victim to Othram, a private forensic lab in Texas. On January 23, 2023 investigators learned that a woman who was believed to be related to “Granby Girl” was living in Maryland.
Police got in contact with the woman and learned that her aunt had gone missing in the 70s, and her aunt had two sons. The next day, one of the sons, Matthew, was located and confirmed with police that his mother had gone missing in 1978. Matthew sent his Ancestry.com DNA testing to the lab and confirmed that he and the woman found in Granby were a 100% parent-child match.
“Granby Girl” has been identified as Patricia Ann Tucker, authorities said. Matthew was 5-years-old at the time she disappeared.
Before her disappearance, Patricia was dating a man named Gerald “Jerry” Coleman and the two got married in 1977 in Middletown, Connecticut. In April 1978, they bought a house in East Hampton, Connecticut.
Coleman dropped off Matthew at a home on Taylor Street in Chicopee with a woman named Laura Holmes in August of 1978 and he never saw his mother again. She was asked to watch him for a few hours as they did some things but Patricia and Gerald never returned.
Coleman, who never reported his wife missing, had been previously arrested in 1968 for attempted kidnapping and carrying a firearm. In 1995, he was convicted of rape and assault and battery. Coleman died in prison the following year.
At this time, there is no probable cause to charge anyone for the murder of Patricia, authorities say. The DA’s office hopes to find more leads to help further the investigation.
Police are also looking for help in contacting Laura Holmes from Chicopee or anyone that may have known her.
Patricia’s son Matthew, who was in attendance Monday at the news conference, has provided a statement, saying in part: “… 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, thank you.”
“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.”
Due to previously being unable to identify her, Patricia was buried in Granby with a headstone named “Unknown.”
West Street Cemetery Commission Member Gordon Landry told told Nexstar’s WWLP that a local business originally bought the stone in memory of the homicide victim. An anonymous person has been maintaining it and leaving flowers, as well as an angel statue in the photo above, at the headstone.
Anyone who knew Patricia at any point of their life is asked to contact Granby Police Department at (413) 467-9222 or email email@example.com