DA to announce breakthrough in 1989 unsolved homicide in Warwick

First Assistant District Attorney Steven Gagne stands in a small pull-off on Route 78 in Warwick where human remains were found in 1989. Authorities have scheduled a press conference on Thursday morning to announce what they say is a major breakthrough in the case.

First Assistant District Attorney Steven Gagne stands in a small pull-off on Route 78 in Warwick where human remains were found in 1989. Authorities have scheduled a press conference on Thursday morning to announce what they say is a major breakthrough in the case. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Report

Published: 05-01-2024 4:10 PM

GREENFIELD — Authorities have scheduled a press conference on Thursday morning to announce what they say is a major breakthrough in the case of human remains found in Warwick in 1989.

Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan, First Assistant District Attorney Steven Gagne and representatives of the State Police Detective Unit assigned to the DA’s office will be on hand at the DA’s Greenfield office at 10 a.m. to provide an update on the case and answer reporters’ questions.

Female remains, with limbs separated from the torso, were discovered by a motorist yards away from the New England Trail in Warwick on June 24, 1989. The body was estimated to have been in that spot — just off Route 78 about 1½ miles north of a parking lot for Mount Grace State Forest — for between two weeks and three months. Authorities sent the victim’s DNA to Othram, a Texas corporation that specializes in using forensic genetic genealogy to resolve unsolved murders, disappearances, and identification of unidentified decedents or homicide victims.

Gagne previously told the Recorder that the decision was made to reach out to Othram due to the company’s success in identifying the so-called “Granby Girl” as Patricia Ann Tucker, a 28-year-old woman found shot to death in 1978, but who went unidentified until just more than a year ago. Gerald Coleman, Tucker’s husband when she died, has been identified as a person of interest in the murder. He died in state prison in 1996, and prosecutors say he never reported his wife as missing.

“You know, this was likely somebody’s mother, somebody’s daughter. So there may be somebody out there wondering whatever happened to their loved one, like we had in Granby,” Gagne previously said of the Warwick case, noting that it is “very possible the person who did this may still be out there, and to the extent they may either pose an ongoing threat to public safety or just to hold them accountable for what they did back in 1989. Either way, we’ve got to give it the old college try and do what we can do.”

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