Joe Hillstrom King went to a New Hampshire movie theater with his three teenage sons in 2015 to watch a 40th anniversary screening of Jaws, his favorite movie.
Better known to fans by his pen name, Joe Hill, the son of literary icon Stephen King, Hill is a popular comic book and horror writer in his own right. He’d seen the movie many times, but around 54 minutes in, Hill leapt out of his seat at a scene that startled him for the first time.
According to Esquire, it was a scene in which a crowd boards a ferry on the Fourth of July. In the shot, a female extra wearing a blue bandana over her hair caught Hill’s attention, because she was “almost a twin of the figure” in a forensic recreation image he recently saw of “The Lady of the Dune” from a notorious cold case.
The Lady of the Dunes is a still-unidentified murder victim discovered in Provincetown in 1973, which is the same year Jaws was filmed on nearby Martha’s Vineyard.
“The movie and the murder overlap geographically and chronologically,” Hill said to Esquire. “Allowing for the possibility that the Lady of the Dunes was in the right place at the right time—or, rather, the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Hill put his theory up on the internet, and it went viral this summer after it was featured on Inside Jaws, a podcast devoted to Steven Spielberg’s journey as a filmmaker. Hill has never gone to the police with his idea because he says he feels “silly” about wasting an officer’s time. But at the very least, he hopes the attention on the case leads to more clues, or encourages someone to talk.
“A woman died and she’s never been identified,” he said to 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 Lady in the Dunes]… Why hasn’t she—or someone that knows her—come forward to say, ‘This is me’?”
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