She Vanished in 1985 After Leaving Home with Boyfriend, Who Later Killed Someone. Her Remains Were Just ID'd

A Maryland native, Mary Alice Pultz was last seen by her family

<p>St. Johns County Sheriff

St. Johns County Sheriff's Office

Mary Alice Pultz

Though a Florida cold case remains unsolved after decades, investigators have made an important discovery: the identity of the victim.

On April 30, 1985, construction workers discovered human remains on a beach near St. Augustine, the Saint Johns County Sheriff’s Office said. The initial investigation found that the remains belonged to a woman between the ages of 30 and 50, police said, and that she was a homicide victim.

In 2023, police sent the remains to Othram, a lab in Texas that utilizes advanced genetic genealogy techniques, which discovered possible relatives of the victim. Eventually, the remains were identified as those of Mary Alice Pultz, according to the sheriff’s office.

A Rockville, Md., native, Pultz was last seen by her family in 1968 before becoming estranged from them, police said. She left home with her boyfriend, John Thomas Fugitt, who detectives discovered went by the alias Billy Joe Wallace and was sentenced to death for the murder of another man. Fugitt died in prison in 1981, before he was to be executed, police said.

<p>St. Johns County Sheriff's Office</p> John Thomas Fugitt

St. Johns County Sheriff's Office

John Thomas Fugitt

Fugitt is considered a person of interest, though police are not ruling out alternatives.

Through examination of Pultz’s remains, it was found that she had surgical burr holes in her skull, which are used to relieve pressure on the brain. A medical examiner also recently reviewed the remains and found evidence of “multiple fractures of the nasal bones, healed fractures of multiple ribs, and healed fractures on the lower legs,” according to a release from the sheriff’s office.

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The medical examiner said those findings suggest that Pultz required hospitalization after suffering severe trauma, unrelated to the homicide, according to the sheriff’s office, who said the injuries occurred after leaving home in 1968.

Police said Pultz has two surviving relatives, a son and a sister.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the sheriff’s office at

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