A woman’s body that was discovered in a ditch along an Ohio roadway 37 years ago and dubbed ‘Buckskin Girl’ has been identified as a 21-year-old from Arkansas.
The woman had been known as the ‘Buckskin Girl’ because of the distinctive buckskin jacket she was wearing. Her body was found in Troy in 1981.
On Wednesday, the Miami County Sheriff’s Office said the body was identified by using DNA. Marcia King, of Arkansas, died of strangulation and blunt force trauma to the head.
‘Jane Doe’ named: A woman’s body that was discovered in a ditch along an Ohio roadway in 1981 has now been identified as 21-year-old Marcia King, from Arkansas (left). Pictured right: An artist’s rendition of the victim dubbed ‘Buckskin Girl’ from 2016
TIMELINE OF ‘BUCKSKIN GIRL’ MURDER INVESTIGATION
April 24, 1981: The fully-clothed body of an unnamed female homicide victim is discovered in a ditch alongside Greenlee Road in Troy, Ohio.
2001: The Miami Valley Regional Crime Lab generates the victim’s nuclear DNA profile.
2008: The profile of ‘Buckskin Girl’ is entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.
2009: Victim’s mitochondrial DNA profile is developed at the NamUs DNA lab at the University of North Texas. Both the nuclear and mitochondrial genetic profiles are then entered into the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System.
2010: NamUs case management is assigned to Dr. Elizabeth Murray, a forensic anthropologist and Professor of Biology at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati.
February 2016: A new facial image is generated by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
April 2016: Pollen studies are conducted on the victim’s clothing by the US Customs and Border Protection Agency.
June 2016: Stable isotope studies are conducted on victim’s hair in an effort to trace the victim’s location and geographic movements in the last year of life.
April 9, 2018: The Miami Valley Regional Crime Lab makes DNA confirmation and positively identifies victim as Marcia King, 21, from Arkansas.
Police say King was never reported as a missing person by her family. Her killer was never arrested or charged.
The sheriff’s office recounted in a statement how on April 24, 1981, the fully-clothed body of a female homicide victim was discovered on Greenlee Road in Troy. She was wearing bell-bottom jeans, a brown turtleneck sweater and a fringed buckskin jacket with a Native American design, and was estimated to have been dead for only a few hours.
The autopsy concluded the victim was killed by strangulation and blunt force trauma, and also suffered a laceration to her liver. The case has always remained an active investigation.
Justice for Marcia: The sheriff’s office is now focused on finding the person who murdered King, who was never reported as missing by her family
The woman’s identity could not be determined at the time, though fingerprints were obtained and later entered into the FBI’s Automated Fingerprint Identification System.
With the advent of DNA technology, the Miami Valley Regional Crime Lab generated the victim’s nuclear DNA profile in 2001. Seven years later, the profile of ‘Buckskin Girl’ was entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.
In 2009, her mitochondrial DNA profile was developed at the NamUs DNA lab at the University of North Texas. Both the nuclear and mitochondrial genetic profiles of the victim were entered into the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System.
Throughout the years, identification efforts included a new facial image generated by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in February 2016; pollen studies on the victim’s clothing by the US Customs and Border Protection Agency in April 2016; and stable isotope studies on her hair in June 2016 in an effort to trace the victim’s location and geographic movements in the last year of life.
On April 9, the Miami Valley Regional Crime confirmed the victim’s identity as Marcia L. King.
The scientific assistance that finally led to the victim’s identification was conducted by the DNA Doe Project, a nonprofit organization created in 2017 to apply genetic genealogy tools to the identification of unknown persons. The ‘Buckskin Girl’ case was accepted as one of the first cases for the project.
‘Jane Doe’ no more: King’s mother now plans to update the headstone marking her grave site at Riverside Cemetery in Troy, Ohio (pictured)
King’s DNA was obtained from a blood sample that had been in storage since 1981; it was processed using advanced DNA techniques, and uploaded to a public genealogy database.
The slain woman’s family have requested that their privacy be respected by the media and public.
Miami County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Steve Lord tells Piqua Daily Call that King’s mother now plans to update the headstone marking her grave site at Riverside Cemetery in Troy, which currently bears the name ‘Jane Doe’ and the date April 22, 1981, which was the day she was believed to have been killed during the initial investigation.
Anyone with information can contact the Miami County Sheriff’s Office Tip Line at (937) 440-3990.