37 Years After Young Woman's Mysterious Slaying, She Is Finally Identified — But Who Killed Her?
Nearly four decades after a young woman’s dead body was found in a ditch in Western Ohio, local authorities now know her name — if not yet who killed her or why.
PEOPLE confirms that the homicide victim long known as the “Buckskin Girl” has been positively identified as 21-year-old Marcia L. King, of Arkansas.
According to the Miami County Sheriff’s Office, King’s body was found on Greenlee Road on April 24, 1981, apparently not long after she was killed. She was fully clothed and wearing a fringed buckskin jacket, leading to her nickname while she officially remained a Jane Doe. But she did not have any socks, shoes or identification, according to the Dayton Daily News.
An autopsy report revealed King was killed by blunt force trauma and strangulation. She was lying dead just off the roadway outside of Troy, the Dayton paper reports.
In 2008, her case was put into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System and on April 9 — almost exactly 37 years after she was found — investigators discovered her ID, thanks to genetic genealogy tools.
The Miami Valley Regional Crime Lab confirmed the DNA through technology created by the nonprofit DNA Doe Project. The organization, which was founded in 2017, accepted King’s case as one of the first for its project.
“Law enforcement never forgets,” Miami Sheriff Dave Duchak said of the break in the case, according to the Daily News.
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The continuous investigation for who King was included 37 years of identification efforts, such as new facial imaging, pollen studies on her clothes and isotope studies on her hair, the sheriff’s office said in a news release.
King’s DNA was obtained through a stored blood sample and put on a public genealogy database.
It remains unclear what she was doing in Ohio at the time of her death. The sheriff’s office reportedly said she has been around Louisville, Kentucky, and Pittsburgh before traveling to Miami County.
Authorities said identifying King is a big step in the direction of finding out who is responsible for her slaying. The investigation is ongoing.
“It is an old case … but we are determined to bring the person to justice who did it,” said Steve Lord, the sheriff’s chief deputy, according to the Daily News.
King’s family has requested privacy and has not commented on this development, authorities said. She had not been reported missing before she was killed.
Her mother is now reportedly looking to replace her Jane Doe headstone, where she is buried in Troy, with a marker bearing her name.
Anyone with information is urged to call 937-440-3990 or submit a tip online.