Miami County authorities today heralded a major step in a decades old cold case investigation: A woman who was found strangled to death back in nearly 40 years ago, has finally been identified.
The Jane Doe victim has been known as “Buckskin Girl” for decades due to the jacket she was wearing when her body was found back in 1981. But now, authorities say her name is Marcia King – a 21-year-old woman from Arkansas
King’s body was found clothed but without shoes, on Greenlee Road.
Authorities in the 1980s ruled her cause of death as strangulation and blunt force trauma.
She’s remained unidentified for nearly 37 years.
“There is quite a following to this case,” said Dr. Elizabeth Murray, a forensic anthropologist & biology professor. “She is in Wikipedia. She’s my only case that is in Wikipedia. There are Facebook pages devoted to her. For whatever reason because she has a face, because she had fingerprints and still was not identified. “
Thanks to advances in DNA technology and genealogy databases, a group in California that specializes in identifying Jane and John Does, took the case on.
Using samples taken from King’s body many years ago, finally determined her identity.
Dr. Margaret Press of the DNA Doe Project said: “We were dismissed by everybody. I think the biggest lesson really was persistence because a year, three months ago, when we started talking about it. Everyone said it couldn’t be done. We’d look at each other and say: Why not? It makes perfect sense. Adoptees are finding birth parents, 60 per cent of the time, nowadays.”
Dr. Colleen Fitzpatrick of DNA Doe Project added: “John and Jane Does are like adoptees, except they’re dead.”
Miami County Sheriff Chief Deputy Steve Lord has been working on the case for nearly two decades.
He said he’s reached out to the family of Marcia King to let them know their long-missing daughter is “Buckskin Girl”.
“Her mother lived in the same house for the last 37 years. She didn’t change her phone number. She was hopeful that one day her daughter would return,” Lord said. “So we’ve given her answers but it’s not necessarily the answers that she wanted.”
Authorities are still working to figure out who killed King and they are asking one with information to come forward. They say a month before she was killed, she might have been in the Louisville, Kentucky area or Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.