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Police looking for clues after Brunswick mother murdered, dumped in Potomac River

Maryland Mysteries: Geraldine Butts
Geraldine Butts.jpg
Posted at 2:44 PM, Oct 10, 2019
and last updated 2021-10-29 12:42:08-04

BOONSBORO, Md. — In a certain stretch of the Potomac River, the portion that flows into Harpers Ferry, it's quiet, serene, breathtaking.

It's also holding answers to a dark secret --- what happened to 27-year-old Geraldine Butts in March 1983.

"She had very traumatic blunt force trauma to her head using some kind of blunt, sharper blunt -- not a blade, but something that was sharper than a pipe or something like that," Sgt. David Sexton, with Maryland State Police, said.

Sexton is in charge of MSP's cold case unit.

'Gerry,' as she was known, was with her husband visiting friends in Boonsboro. The men eventually went out to play pool and stayed out too late, upsetting Gerry.

She then dropped her kids off with a friend and went out for a drink of her own at the Boone Tavern in town.

That's when she decided she was going to head back.

"She was seen several times. There was a truck seen on 67 near a house that her and her husband had rented before, but nothing else until 8 o'clock that next morning," Sexton said.

According to police reports, the last time anyone saw Geraldine alive was on Route 67 right outside of Boonsboro. A deputy stopped her and asked if she wanted a ride home and she told him, she'd rather walk, so the deputy drove off. Little did he know, her home was miles away.

It wasn't until the next morning that there'd be a clue as to what happened.

Fishermen out near the Potomac noticed something -- it was blood.

"Two fishermen are walking across a little foot bridge from a little tavern down in Brunswick near the Potomac River. They're walking across and see large amounts of blood, a blood trail leading down to the river. They don't report it right away because she wasn't reported missing until about a day later," Sexton said.

Authorities typed the blood.

For a month, it was an all out search for Gerry until someone noticed something wrapped around a tree a little upstream --- it was her -- bludgeoned to death.

Crucial evidence was washed away.

"Really a lack of evidence -- physical evidence -- for this case with the exception of witnesses and what people saw at the bar," Sexton said.

Leaving who killed Geraldine Butts a near 40-year-old mystery.