PROVINCETOWN — Longtime Detective Meredith Lobur resigned from the town’s police force on July 2, two weeks before she appeared on a list of law enforcement officers known to be untrustworthy in their official duties.
On July 17, Cape and Islands District Attorney Rob Galibois sent Police Chief Jim Golden a letter informing him that Lobur, 59, had been placed on the Brady list — named for the 1963 U.S. Supreme Court case Brady v. Maryland, which requires prosecutors to disclose all exculpatory or impeaching information to the defense in criminal cases. Appearing on a Brady list undermines an officer’s value as a witness.
Golden refused to respond to a series of emailed questions from the Independent about Lobur. “As she is now a private citizen,” he wrote, “we have no additional comment.”
According to the D.A.’s letter, Lobur was placed on the list because “her conduct is subject to mandatory disclosure to criminal defendants as ‘probative of how the officer conducts police investigations’ … specifically relating to the 2013 exhumation of Ruth Terry in terms of process and proper evidence handling.”
Ruth Terry was the long unknown “Lady of the Dunes” found murdered in the Province Lands.
Galibois’s office did not respond to questions about the nature of Lobur’s misconduct in the Terry exhumation, how it came to light 10 years after the fact, or whether defendants in the many cases that Lobur has worked on since 2013 now have grounds to appeal their verdicts — since the detective’s potentially impeaching conduct was not disclosed at the time. Galibois was elected last November.
Ruth Marie Terry, born in Whitwell, Tenn. in 1936, disappeared in the summer of 1974 and was long presumed dead by her family. On July 26, 1974, a young girl happened upon a decomposing and unidentifiable body in the Race Point Dunes. For 48 years, the Lady of the Dunes was an unsolved mystery — and eventually the state’s oldest unidentified homicide victim — until last fall, when the F.B.I. announced it had identified her as Terry using investigative genealogy. The discovery provided some closure for Terry’s surviving relatives, including her biological son Richard Hanchett, who was adopted at birth and has sought answers about his mother for years.
Since October 1974, Terry’s body has been buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery in Provincetown. Authorities exhumed her body in identification efforts in 1980 and again in 2000 to extract DNA from her remains for processing with advanced technologies, the Boston Globe reported.
In The Skeleton Crew: How Amateur Sleuths Are Solving America’s Coldest Cases, a 2014 book about true crime hobbyists, author Deborah Halber described observing Lobur, who she called the “voice of the Provincetown police on all things Lady of the Dunes,” oversee a third exhumation in 2013.
Lobur joined the Provincetown force in 2011 and served as lead detective until her resignation. She took over the Lady of the Dunes investigation and regularly appeared in the press encouraging “anyone with any information to please reach out,” as she told CapeCod.com in 2021.
Reached by phone on Monday, Lobur directed the Independent to her lawyer, J.W. Carney, a criminal defense lawyer best known for representing organized crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger.
Carney wrote that Lobur had “voluntarily retired” from the police dept. “It is a grotesque miscarriage of justice that the current Cape & Islands District Attorney put her on a list suggesting she did something wrong in solving the Lady of the Dunes,” he wrote.
Lobur has faced repeated lawsuits from pretrial detainee Steven Smith, who has been held at the Barnstable County jail on charges of child rape since 2019. Smith asserts that Lobur arrested him without cause and defamed him during the investigation by falsely claiming he had a prior record of assaulting a minor. The courts have dismissed Smith’s previous complaints.
Smith has an open civil complaint against Lobur in Superior Court, however, and this week filed an emergency motion based on Lobur’s recent addition to the Brady list and her resignation.
Smith’s filing included the cover page of minutes from a confidential meeting on June 30 between Deputy First Assistant D.A. Russ Eonas, Second Assistant Tara Cappola, Appeals Unit Chief Elizabeth Sweeney, Lobur, and Carney. According to the incomplete minutes, the meeting was related to the D.A.’s Brady policy.
That meeting took place on a Friday; Lobur resigned that Sunday.
The full Brady list, obtained by the Independent through a public records request to the D.A., also includes Sgt. Jeffrey Day of the Tisbury and Chilmark police, Sgt. John York of the Barnstable police, Officer Jessica Kent of the Sandwich police, Molly Megahee of BodeCellmark, and Amy Joy of the Mass. State Police Crime Laboratory.
Day resigned from the Tisbury dept. in May 2022, according to the Martha’s Vineyard Times. York retired in May 2021 after internal affairs investigations found payroll misconduct, according to the Cape Cod Times. As of 2021, Kent was the school resource officer for Sandwich High School; she is no longer listed in the police dept. directory.
BodeCellmark runs DNA testing on sexual assault kits; Megahee, formerly a senior DNA analyst for the company, resigned on Aug. 2, 2022 after falsifying a forensic biologist’s self-review signature on a draft forensics report, according to an April 2023 report by the Texas Forensic Science Commission.
Joy appears to still be an employee of the Mass. State Police. She was on the Middlesex district attorney’s office Brady list as of January 2022, published by the Mass Dump newsletter.