GRANBY, Mass. (WWLP) – The Northwestern District Attorney and Granby police have identified “Granby Girl,” a woman in a 1978 unsolved homicide.
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 times, there was no way to identify the body. Law enforcement canvased the area for leads and searched missing person reports but found no leads.
DNA Technology/Forensic Genetic Genealogy
Recent advancement in forensic science has helped solve this case. 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 a private forensic lab in Texas called Othram. On January 23, 2023 investigators learned that they had located a relative in Maryland that may have been her half-sister.
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 named Matthew was located and confirmed with police 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 percent parent-child match.
Patricia Ann Tucker
“Granby Girl” has been identified as Patricia Ann Tucker, born July 28, 1950. She later used married names under Patricia Heckman, Patricia Dale, and, at the time of her disappearance and death, Patricia Coleman.
Matthew was 5 years old at the time she disappeared. Patricia was dating a man named Gerald “Jerry” Coleman at the time 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 never reported his wife missing. He 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 later died in prison in 1996.
Photos: Gerald “Jerry” Coleman
At this time, there is no probable cause to charge anyone with the murder of Patricia. The DA’s office hopes to find more leads to help further the investigation. Anyone that knew Patricia at any point in their life is asked to contact Granby Police Department at 413-467-9222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Police are also looking for help in contacting Laura Holmes from Chicopee or anyone that may have known her.
Statement from Matthew Dale
Patricia’s son Matthew, who was in attendance Monday at the news conference, has provided a statement on the latest developments, “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. 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.”
“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.”
“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 22News 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.