Thursday, April 12, 2018
Murder of Marcia King
breaking news: Marcia Lenore King, formerly known by the nickname "Buckskin Girl" was a previously unidentified female murder victim discovered in 1981 in Troy, Miami County, Ohio. She is known for her distinct hairstyle along with the tasseled suede jacket she wore. The victim may have been murdered by a serial killer who had killed many sex workers or dancers in the area, although this specific case had no indication of sexual activity. Nearly 37 years after her body was found, the Miami County Sheriff Department formally identified "Buckskin Girl" as Marcia King of Arkansas. She was 21 at the time of her death. Discovery and death: The victim was found within thirty-six and fifty hours of her death off of Ohio State Route 55, near Greenlee Road in Newton Township, Troy, Ohio after police responded to a call stating that a woman's body had been found along a road. A passerby had first noticed the victim's poncho and soon after discovered the victim's body. The woman had been placed along the road in a fetal position on her right side without shoes or socks. The victim had suffered trauma to the head and neck, was strangled and had a lacerated liver. Authorities believed that she had been killed elsewhere and left on the road after her death. It had been speculated that she may have been a teenage runaway or a possible victim of a serial killer who had murdered multiple sex workers in the region. However, the scene showed no signs of sexual assault, rape or other sexual activity, indicating that she had not been a sex worker. Because of the absence of footwear, some believe she may have been murdered by an abusive significant other. A retired investigator stated that the victim was not likely from the area where she was found. Description: The young woman's naturally reddish-brown hair was braided into pigtails on both sides of her head. Blue rubber bands had been used to hold the braids in place. Her eyes were a "light brown" and she had many freckles across her face. Her nose was described to be "very pointed" as well. Her personal hygiene was described to be well maintained, and all of her teeth, including the wisdom teeth, were in good condition and had no evidence of fillings or other dental work, except for a porcelain crown on her upper-right incisor. The victim had a ruddy complexion, indicating she spent a lot of time outdoors. She was between 5'4" and 5'6" and weighed 125 - 130 pounds. Several scars were also found on the body, including a vertical scar under the chin, on one wrist, the arms and the ankle. Her bra size was 32D. She wore Wrangler jeans, a patterned brown and orange turtleneck pullover sweater, a white bra, as well as a deerskin poncho that appeared to have been handmade with purple lining. She wore no shoes or socks. Investigation: The body was autopsied on the afternoon that it was discovered. The coroner officially ruled her death as being the result of strangulation. Early efforts to identify the Buckskin Girl involved the creation of a sketch of the face that would be published in local newspapers and television networks on April 28, 1981. About two hundred leads were followed as a result of media attention, yet none resulted in any solution. She was eventually buried, but her clothing remains in storage at the local police department. Because of the short time the victim had been deceased, it was possible to obtain her fingerprints. Her dental information and DNA were also taken. In 2008, the victim was entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System where her fingerprint, dental and DNA information were made available for law enforcement 226 missing women and girls had been ruled out as possible identities of the victim. Some believed that she had been a runaway teenager or a transient wanderer, although her excellent personal hygiene suggested that she had access to hygiene products not too long before her death. Since her body was located near a town road instead of a highway, the probability of her being a "wanderer" for a significant amount of time was initially thought to be negligible. Authorities stated that the likely reason why she has remained unidentified for so long was due to her dying far from where she originated, also stating she had not spent a long period of time in Ohio. In 2016, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children released a forensic facial reconstruction of the victim and added her case to their website, depicting her with and without her braided hairstyle. Later that year, the Miami County Police Department approved forensic palynology tests on the victim's clothing, which suggested that she had spent time in the Northeastern part of the United States, as well as in the Western part of the country, or northern Mexico. Soot particles were also found on some of her clothing, which suggested she had been in a populous region, most likely near vehicles. Isotope testing showed she had spent a total of around four months in areas such as Fort Worth, Texas and southern Oklahoma, spending two months there on two separate occasions. Serial killer theory: Some investigators speculate that King was the first of many victims killed by an unidentified serial killer who perpetrated his murders in the 1980s and 1990s, continuing until 2004, in Ohio. Such a serial killer was suspected to have killed approximately seven to ten other women, presumed sex workers and exotic dancers, in Ohio. In 1991, a press conference preceded the creation of a task force which attempted to connect various murders in Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania and Illinois. These cases were originally connected by a reporter who discovered similarities between unsolved murders in the area. On an episode of Unsolved Mysteries, the case was briefly detailed along with several other cases connected to the unidentified serial killer. The program connected this case with the murders of Shirley Dee Taylor, Anna Marie Patterson, Hebron Jane Doe (identified in 2017 as Patrice Corley) and other murder cases. All of the victims had been beaten or strangled and had some clothing or jewelry missing. She wore no jewelry, had her footwear removed, and died in a similar manner to that of the other victims. There are, however, several indications disputing this theory. The victim was missing shoes when she was found, but there was no indication that she had participated in any sexual activity prior to death. Furthermore, she was fairly well-groomed, unlike many of the other victims. Some, like Corley had participated in sexual activity before their deaths, a factor which indicated that they were sex workers. Also diverging from the theory, Patterson's body had been wrapped in a sleeping bag and was likely stored in a refrigerated area for "nearly a month" before it was located on the side of a highway. It is thought that the women who may have been victims of the serial killer could have met with a man at a truck stop while working as sex workers. In the case of Anna Marie Patterson, there was a suspect, identified over a CB radio as "Dr. No", believed to be between the ages of 25 and 40. Patterson's husband, who was involved with her work as a sex worker, stated that she was uncomfortable accepting the man's requests, as other local sex workers, some speaking over the radio, had expressed that they were suspicious of the man and did not wish to meet with him. Police have suspected that this person may have been her killer, and that he may also have been involved in the death of King. Earlier, it was presumed that she had been a victim of a different span of killings, known as the Redhead murders, but this theory has been ruled out Early speculation also made a connection to the murder of a 27-year-old woman in February 1981, yet police never made an official link between these two murders. Identification: King was announced to have been identified on April 11, 2018. This is the first case for the newly formed DNA Doe Project. This nonprofit organization led by Colleen Fitzpatrick and Margaret Press applied genetic genealogy tools to the identification of this "Doe". The Victim'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 The match between her and the unidentified victim was confirmed on April 9. She was originally from Little Rock, Arkansas and had not been reported missing by her family, although her family continued to search for her. King's mother resided at the same residence, kept the same phone number in case her daughter would ever contact her. She will remain buried at the Riverside Cemetery, but the headstone reading "Jane Doe" will eventually be replaced to bear her name.