Patricia Ann Tucker, the 28-year-old woman identified by the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office on Monday to be the victim known as “Granby Girl,” in a 1978 cold case, may have been killed by her husband, according to First Assistant to the District Attorney Steve Gagne.
Tucker was believed to have died in June 1978, and killed violently: she had been shot in the temple, and her body was dragged by a man’s belt, police had said at the time. Children playing in the woods had found her decomposed, skeletonized and clothed remains under a stump on Nov. 15, 1978, according to the police.
Tucker was identified through genetic genealogy testing with her son, Matthew Dale, 50, according to the district attorney’s office. She was born on July 28, 1950, and had lived on the shore of Lake Pocotopaug in East Hampton, Connecticut with her husband, Gerald Coleman.
Tucker had been married before, and other names she had been known as were Patricia Heckman and Patricia Dale. Her son, Matthew Dale, was from a prior marriage.
Coleman had died in Massachusetts state prison in 1996 after being convicted in Hampden Superior Court in 1995 for rape, indecent assault and battery and assault with a dangerous weapon, Gagne said. Coleman had been charged in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1968 for attempted kidnapping, aggravated assault, and carrying a firearm.
Gagne said Coleman is a suspect in Tucker’s murder. According to her son Dale, Coleman had dropped him off with woman named Laura Holmes around the time Tucker was reported missing at 8 Taylor Street in Chicopee. Holmes was told by “Matthew’s parents, presumably Patricia and Gerald,” Gagne said, that she’d need to watch Dale for “a few hours” while the couple took care of “personal business,” according to records from DCF obtained by the district attorney’s office.
When neither parent showed up after 48 hours to pick Dale up, Holmes then contacted authorities, and Dale was returned to his biological father. Dale told investigators he never heard from Coleman or his mother again.
“First, I would like to say ‘thank you’ to everyone in trying to identify my mother and wrapping your arms around her, especially in the Community of Granby,” said Dale in a written statement during the press conference.
“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 again,” the statement concluded. Gagne said he is hopeful the exposure and identification of Tucker will aid in finding the person responsible for her death.