Remains Identified As Maryland Woman Who Vanished In 1968
Mary Pultz's remains were found on April 10, 1985, in St. Augustine, Florida.
St. John’s County Sheriff’s Office

Remains found in Florida in 1985 have been identified as a Maryland native who went missing in 1968.

Mary Alice Pultz was born in Rockville, Maryland, in 1943, but left with her boyfriend in 1968 and lost contact with her family, the St. John’s Sheriff’s Office (SJSO) said in a press release. Her boyfriend at the time, John Thomas Fugitt, would go on to murder his male roommate in 1981.

Fugitt, who also went by the alias Billy Joe Wallace, was sentenced to death for the murder but died in prison before he could be executed.

On April 10, 1985, some construction workers in St. Augustine, Florida, found the remains of a white woman in a shallow grave on Crescent Beach. An initial investigation put the woman’s age between 30 and 50 years old at the time of her death, and due to the circumstances of where her body was found, her death was ruled a homicide.

The case quickly went cold. In 2011, the woman’s skull and mandible were sent to the University of South Florida’s Institute for Forensic Anthropology and Applied Science. Experts were able to create a graphic using facial reconstruction to show how the victim may have looked. While the image generated some leads, nothing led to her identification, and the case went cold again.

In 2023, part of the remains were sent to Othram, a Texas-based lab that specializes in forensic DNA evidence and forensic genetic genealogy. Othram has been responsible for identifying victims in numerous cold cases over the past few years, including the identification of the Golden State Killer.

Othram was able to develop a DNA profile for the victim, which was then sent to consumer genealogy databases such as 23andMe to find potential relatives of the victim. A match was found, so Sgt. Gene Tolbert of the SJSO’s major crimes unit traveled to North Carolina to meet with the possible relatives. In January 2024, detectives confirmed that the relatives matched the deceased and identified the remains as belonging to Pultz.

An examination of the remains revealed three surgical burr holes in her skull, which would have been created to relieve pressure on the brain during a brain bleed or other fluid buildup. After interviewing her family, detectives learned that those holes must have been made after she left in 1968. Detectives believe she must have been involved in a traumatic event that required hospitalization, such as a car crash.


Wendolyn Sneed, Chief Medical Examiner for the District 23 Medical Examiner’s Office in St. John’s County, examined the remains recently and found “multiple fractures of the nasal bones, healed fractures of multiple ribs, and healed fractures on the lower legs.” These injuries, Sneed advised, were in line with severe trauma, such as from a car crash or being struck by a vehicle. These injuries are not considered to be related to her cause of death.

“This investigation is a powerful example that we will never give up,” St. John’s County Sheriff Rob Hardwick said in the press release. “The combination of highly skilled detectives and advanced DNA technology has given Mary Alice’s family some answers about her disappearance close to 40 years ago. Our Major Crimes detectives are some of the best in the business and I am proud of their dedication to be a voice for homicide victims and their families as we seek closure for loved ones.”

Detectives are still investigating the murder of Pultz, and while Fugitt is considered a person of interest, police have not ruled out other possibilities.

Create a free account to join the conversation!

Already have an account?

Log in

Got a tip worth investigating?

Your information could be the missing piece to an important story. Submit your tip today and make a difference.

Submit Tip
Download Daily Wire Plus

Don't miss anything

Download our App

Stay up-to-date on the latest
news, podcasts, and more.

Download on the app storeGet it on Google Play
The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Remains Identified As Maryland Woman Who Vanished In 1968