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Identity of Ohio's 'Buckskin Girl' finally discovered 37 years later

Posted: 4:11 PM, Apr 11, 2018
Updated: 2018-04-11 20:43:57Z

MIAMI COUNTY, Ohio -- For decades, her name remained a mystery. 

Her body was found along Greenlee Road in Miami County, Ohio on April 24, 1981. She'd been killed just hours earlier, strangled and suffering blunt-force trauma.

She was fully clothed, wearing jeans and a fringed buckskin jacket with a Native American design. The "Jane Doe" became known as "Buckskin Doe" or the "Buckskin Girl" because of that jacket.

This week, investigators finally learned her name: Marcia L. King, 21 years old and from Arkansas.

The Miami County Sheriff’s Office used new technology and investigative techniques over the years, trying to solve the mystery: a new facial image generated by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in February 2016; pollen studies on her clothing by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency in April 2016; and stable isotope studies on her hair in June 2016 in an effort to trace the her location and geographic movements in the last year of life.

Investigators confirmed her identity Monday through DNA. They also discovered she may have had ties to Kentucky, Arkansas, Ohio and Pennsylvania shortly before she was killed.

The scientific assistance that finally helped identify King came from the DNA Doe Project, a nonprofit founded in 2017. The project relies on genetic genealogy tools similar to those used by genealogists for analyzing DNA results normally provided by direct-to-consumer testing companies. King's sample came from DNA that had been in storage since 1981, and the results were uploaded to a public genealogy database.

King's was one of the first cases accepted into the DNA Doe Project.

The sheriff's office is now moving ahead with a homicide investigation.

If anyone knew King or remembers coming into to contact with her, they are asked to call the Miami County Sheriff's Office Tip Line at 937-440-3990 or leave tips at www.miamicountysheriff.org/contact-us-1 .