Could the Movie ‘Jaws’ Hold a Clue in Solving One of America’s Famous Cold Cases?


Jaws | Universal Pictures

It’s been more than four decades since the blockbuster Jaws terrified beachgoers and now there is a theory that the movie may hold a clue in solving a case that has puzzled law enforcement for decades.

The film about a man-eating great white shark was filmed off Cape Cod in the summer of 1974, which happens to be the same year a woman was murdered and her body was dumped behind the dunes near Provincetown, Massachusetts. The victim is known as the “Lady of the Dunes” and there is renewed interest in her case after Joe Hill, the son of famed author Stephen King, noticed something while watching the movie.

Hill believes that he spotted that very woman as an extra in the scene of a crowd boarding a ferry in the Steven Spielberg classic.

“She swims at you out of the crowd, you’d hardly notice her if you watched it on a TV but it’s different if all the actors are 10 feet high,” he told USA Today.

Hill first noticed the woman when he took his children to see the classic film for a 40th-anniversary screening in 2015. At that time, he explained in an online post that not only did the extra look eerily similar to the woman who was killed but they were both around 30 years old, weighed about 145 pounds, and wore a blue bandanna which was found along with the body.

King’s son had been so convinced they could be the same woman that he brought this information to the Provincetown Police Department but a detective assigned to the case told him, “That’s an interesting theory.” Hill took that response “as a polite way of saying, ‘That’s pretty crazy and useless.’ But another guy who’s worked on the case recently said, ‘You don’t know, odds are long.’”

Interest in the case and Hill’s theory was renewed in 2018 when it was referenced in a podcast about the making of the film titled Inside Jaws.

Hill understands that his theory of the extra being the same woman who was murdered that summer may turn out to not be true. However, he is stirring some more attention on the case and hoping that maybe someone who knows something will come forward.

“A woman died and she’s never been identified,” he said via Esquire. “She’s someone’s daughter–you have to hope sooner or later there will be a resolution. But I keep wondering how come that woman [in Jaws], if she’s [not the victim]… Why hasn’t she–or someone that knows her–come forward to say, ‘This is me’?”

With today’s technology Hill would ultimately like for the victim’s DNA to be submitted to a genealogical database so that her family members might be able to help identify her.

Until Hill’s notion is proven or disproven we’ll never know for sure if the woman in the film and the murder victim are the same person. What we do know is that a killer remains at large and authorities are continuing to work tirelessly in the hopes of one day finding justice for the “Lady of the Dunes.”