Body of 'Buckskin Girl' found in Ohio in 1981 identified as Arkansas woman

Posted: Updated:

Almost 37 years ago, the body of a young woman with braided auburn hair and wearing a fringed buckskin jacket was found in a ditch alongside a road in Ohio. Investigators determined she was killed just hours before, but they were unable to identify her and the case went cold -- until now.

The Miami County Sheriff's Office announced on Wednesday that the woman, who became known as the "Buckskin Girl" for her distinctive deerskin pullover, has been identified as 21-year-old Marcia L. King of Arkansas.

The break in the case came from analyzing the victim's DNA, which was obtained from a blood sample that had been in storage since 1981, according to the sheriff's office. The identification was made by the California-based nonprofit DNA Doe Project and confirmed on Monday by the Miami Valley Regional Crime Lab in Dayton, Ohio.

King's family has been notified and they have requested privacy, the sheriff's office said.

Authorities are now focused on finding King's killer.

"The identification of the victim is critical in advancing the investigation toward finding the person or persons responsible for this crime," Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak said in a statement Wednesday.

After the fully clothed body was discovered alongside Greenlee Road near Troy, Ohio, on April 24, 1981, an autopsy concluded the woman had died of strangulation and blunt force trauma. She was estimated to have been dead only hours before her body was found. Her fingerprints were obtained and later entered into the FBI's Automated Fingerprint Identification System, according to the sheriff's office.

"The case has remained assigned to a detective as an active investigation since the victim was discovered," Duchak said. "The victim remained unidentified for nearly 37 years, despite continued efforts."

In 2001, as DNA technology improved, the Miami Valley Regional Crime Lab developed the woman's nuclear genetic profile, which was entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System at the end of 2008. Both her nuclear and mitochondrial DNA profiles were entered into the FBI's Combined DNA Index System.

In 2016, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children released a rendered image of the young woman's face, while the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency conducted pollen studies on her clothing and Ohio investigators did isotope tests on her hair.

The tests revealed clues about the woman and where she traveled during the last year of her life, ultimately leading to a positive DNA identification this week.

Upon announcing that the "Buckskin Girl" is no longer a Jane Doe, the Miami County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday released an image of King, who's seen wearing a pink polo shirt and smiling with her long, reddish-brown hair over her shoulder.

Anyone with information on the case can contact the Miami County Sheriff’s Office via its tip line at 937-440-3990 or submit tips online at www.miamicountysheriff.org/contact-us-1.

  • On Your SideMore>>

  • Restaurant report card

    Restaurant report card

    This week on Restaurant Report Card, refrigerator temperatures caused problem in several restaurants and stray cats earns one local establishment a strike. 

    This week on Restaurant Report Card, refrigerator temperatures caused problem in several restaurants and stray cats earns one local establishment a strike. 

  • No water contact at Lake Afton due to blue-green algae

    No water contact at Lake Afton due to blue-green algae

    The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported algae blooms at Lake Afton Park, requiring a warning for the entire lake. 

    The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported algae blooms at Lake Afton Park, requiring a warning for the entire lake. 

  • On Your Side: Silencing Robocalls

    On Your Side: Silencing Robocalls

    No one seems to be immune from robocalls. Not even Patrick Webre, who works for the Federal Communications Commission. “I get them every day," says Webre. There were 3.4 billion robocalls in April alone in the United States. 

    No one seems to be immune from robocalls. Not even Patrick Webre, who works for the Federal Communications Commission. “I get them every day," says Webre. There were 3.4 billion robocalls in April alone in the United States. 

Check out these photos from across KAKEland snapped by our viewers, staff and local officials. Do you have pictures to share with us? Email them to news@kake.com.

MORE SLIDESHOWS HERE

<'>
  • Most Popular Stories

    • Man hurt in southwest Wichita shooting

      It happened just before 1 a.m. on Monday in the 2400 block of West Graber, near 27th and South Meridian.

    • MGN Online

      Police say infant left in hot car at Ohio park for hours dies

      Police said a 6-month-old girl found unresponsive in a car at a park in Ohio has died.

    • Missing Person: Quinten Bailey Rouch

      Police are asking for the community’s help with finding Quinten Bailey Rouch. 

    • Pranksters plant Wyoming city's flower pots with real pot

      A Wyoming city has discovered its potted plants have literally gone to pot. Officials in Powell believe pranksters planted marijuana seeds in city-owned flower pots this spring, leading unsuspecting city workers to water and care for them. 

    • Kansas church supporting pastor amid child sex crime accusations

      The First Christian Church of Sedgwick is supporting its pastor, amid accusations of sex crimes against a child.

    • Woman dies from injuries in Friday house fire

      A family member confirms the woman who was found unresponsive in her burning home Friday has died of her injuries.

    • Man drowns in pool at east Wichita home

      Investigators say three friends were celebrating the World Cup before one of them drowned in the 1100 block of North Pershing in east Wichita.

    • Campers, game wardens kill 13 copperhead snakes at Kansas lake

      It was a traditional Fourth of July weekend at Fall River for Steffani Comer, her family and friends. But the fun weekend turned into a snake hunt after her friend was bitten by a copperhead.

    • MGN Online

      Smoking in public housing will soon be banned

      The policy was announced two years ago by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, but the agency gave the nation's more than 3,300 local public housing authorities nearly two years to begin enforcement.

    • One dead in Finney County shootings

      The Finney County Sheriff's Office is investigating a string of shootings Saturday night that left one person dead. Investigators say the first shooting happened when a suspect or suspects shot at a vehicle on West Highway 50, between 3rd Street and Campus Drive.