Murder of Marcia King

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Marcia King
Marcia King.jpg
Marcia Lenore King

(1959-06-09)June 9, 1959[1]
DisappearedCirca 1980
Little Rock, Arkansas[2]
DiedApril 22, 1981(1981-04-22) (aged 21) [3]
Troy, Miami County, Ohio
Cause of deathHomicide by strangulation
Body discoveredApril 24, 1981
Resting placeRiverside Cemetery, Troy, Miami County, Ohio, United States
Known forFormerly unidentified victim of homicide
Parent(s)Jack Sossoman†
Bonnie Bryant-King[4]

Marcia Lenore Sossoman King[5] ((1959-06-09)June 9, 1959 – (1981-04-22)April 22, 1981) was a previously unidentified murder victim discovered in 1981 in Miami County, Ohio, near the city of Troy. During the years that her identity was unknown, she was nicknamed "Buckskin Girl," after the tasseled buckskin jacket that she had been wearing at the time of her death. King 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 with the assistance of the DNA Doe Project formally identified "Buckskin Girl" as Marcia King of Arkansas. She was 21 at the time of her death.[6]

Discovery and death[edit]

King's body was found on April 24, 1981, in a ditch along Greenlee Road in Newton Township, west of Troy, Ohio, after police responded to a call stating that a woman's body had been found along a road.[3][7][8] A passerby had first noticed the victim's poncho and soon after discovered the victim's body.[9] The woman had been placed along the road in a fetal position on her right side without shoes or socks.[2] The victim had suffered trauma to the head and neck, was strangled, and had a lacerated liver.[10][11]

Authorities believed that she had been killed elsewhere and left on the road after her death.[12][13] They concluded this because her bare feet were clean, showing no indication of walking on dirt, and because Interstate 75 is just five miles (8 km) away, making it a convenient and discreet drop-off spot.[14] 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.[15][11][16] However, the scene showed no signs of sexual assault, rape or other sexual activity, indicating that she had not been a sex worker.[15] Because of the absence of footwear, some believe she may have been murdered by an abusive significant other.[17] A retired investigator stated that the victim was not likely from the area where she was found.[9]


Rendering by NCMEC depicting the victim's physical appearance upon discovery

The young woman's naturally reddish-brown hair was braided into pigtails on both sides of her head.[15][18][19] Blue rubber bands had been used to hold the braids in place.[13] Her eyes were a "light brown" and she had many freckles across her face.[15] Her nose was described to be "very pointed" as well.[17] 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.[20][3] The victim had a ruddy complexion, indicating she spent a lot of time outdoors.[15][16] She was between 5 ft 4 in (163 cm) and 5 ft 6 in (168 cm) tall and weighed 125–130 pounds (57–59 kg).[13][19] Several scars were also found on the body, including a vertical scar under the chin, on one wrist, the arms and the ankle.[21][22] Her bra size was 32D.[15]

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.[18][16][21] She wore no shoes or socks.[19][21][22]


The body was autopsied on the afternoon that it was discovered. The coroner officially ruled her death as being the result of strangulation.[7] She was nicknamed "Buckskin Girl," after the tasseled buckskin jacket that she had been wearing at the time of her death.[15][18][23] 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.[12] About two hundred leads were followed as a result of the media attention, yet none resulted in any solution.[7] She was eventually buried, but her clothing remained in storage at the local police department.[9]

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.[3][9] 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.[24] 226 missing women and girls had been ruled out as possible identities of the victim[3] 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.[15] 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.[17] Authorities stated that the likely reason why she remained unidentified for so long was her dying far from where she originated, also stating she had not spent a long period of time in Ohio.[24]

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.[20] 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.[25] Soot particles were also found on some of her clothing, which suggested she had been in a populous region, most likely near vehicles.[26] 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.[27][28] In July 2018 the Miami County Police Department said King had been seen in Louisville, Kentucky, 14 days before her death.[29]


The match between King and the unidentified victim was confirmed on April 9, 2018 through DNA analysis performed by the DNA Doe Project and Full Genomes Corporation.[30][31] She had not officially been reported missing, although her family continued to search for her.[2] King's mother resided at the same residence and kept the same phone number in case her daughter would ever contact her.[32]

She will remain buried at the Riverside Cemetery, but the headstone reading "Jane Doe" was replaced to bear her name.[33][29] On July 20, 2018, a memorial service was held at a local chapel and her new headstone was released.[5]

Marcia's father died on January 5, 2018. Two of her brothers, Danny King and James Sossoman, are also deceased.[4]

Serial killer theory[edit]

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.[34][35] Such a serial killer was suspected to have killed approximately seven to ten other women, presumed prostitutes and exotic dancers, in Ohio.[36][37] 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.[37] These cases were originally connected by a reporter who discovered similarities between unsolved murders in the area.[36]

On an episode of Unsolved Mysteries, the case was briefly detailed along with several other cases connected to the unidentified serial killer.[15] The program connected this case with the murders of Shirley Dee Taylor, Anna Marie Patterson, Hebron Jane Doe (identified in 2017 as Patrice Corley)[38] 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.[36]

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.[15][36] 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 may have been 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.[36][37]

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 prostitutes. 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.[36][39] 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 prostitutes, 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.[39]

In 2019, a man was linked to a series of rapes and murders in the Ohio area that occurred in the 1990s. Investigators in the Corley case, however do not believe he was responsible for her murder.[40]

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.[41] 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.[12]


Reconstructions of King based on morgue photographs, created in effort to identify her.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Winsor, Morgan (12 April 2018). "Body of 'Buckskin Girl' found in Ohio in 1981 identified as Arkansas woman". American Broadcasting Company. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Vallieu, Melody (11 April 2018). "'Buckskin Girl' identified". Troy Daily News. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e "NamUs UP # 4790". National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. 10 December 2008. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Jack W. Sossoman". Penwell-Gabel Home Send Flowers. 5 January 2018. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  5. ^ a b Ullery, Michael (20 July 2018). "Sossoman given back her name". Troy Daily News. AIM Media Midwest. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
  6. ^ "Miami County Sheriff's Office identifies 1981 cold case victim". 11 April 2018. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  7. ^ a b c "Victim still unidentified". 30 April 1981. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  8. ^ O'Neil, Helen (30 March 2008). "Amateur sleuths restore identity to the dead". Seatle Pi. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  9. ^ a b c d "Miami County authorities still working on Jane Doe case". WHIO. Cox Media Group. 24 April 2015. Archived from the original on 2016-04-25. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  10. ^ Ramsey, Rachelle (29 August 1994). "Jane Doe Doesn't Have a Name or Suspect". Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  11. ^ a b DeBrosse, Jim (6 August 2007). "'Somebody cares about them. We do.' - Jane Doe cases could be solved 'overnight' if database utilized, police say". Dayton Daily News. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
  12. ^ a b c "No identification yet". April 28, 1981. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  13. ^ a b c "Strangulation cause of death". 27 April 1981. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  14. ^ Togneri, Chris (June 4, 2016). "Slain Jane Doe's curious case in Ohio still puzzles after 35 years".
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Case File 133UFOH". The Doe Network. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  16. ^ a b c "Miami County Jane Doe, OH". Archived from the original on 14 April 2014. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  17. ^ a b c "HELP CRIME WATCH DAILY AND CARL KOPPELMAN GIVE NAMES TO THESE 5 MURDER VICTIMS". Crime Watch Daily. Fox. 10 October 2015. Retrieved December 9, 2015.
  18. ^ a b c Besso, Donna (25 July 2008). "Need Help Identifying "The Buckskin Girl"". Archived from the original on 14 April 2014. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  19. ^ a b c "Miami Ohio Jane Doe April 1981". Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  20. ^ a b "Jane Doe 1981". National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. 11 February 2016. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
  21. ^ a b c "Ohio Unsolved Homicides". Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  22. ^ a b "Miami Ohio Jane Doe April 1981". 2012. Archived from the original on 10 December 2013. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  23. ^ O'Neill, Helen (30 March 2008). "Volunteers use computers to name the dead". USA Today. Associated Press. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  24. ^ a b Krista E. Latham; Eric J. Bartelink; Michael Finnegan, eds. (28 July 2017). New Perspectives in Forensic Human Skeletal Identification. Elsevier, Inc. pp. 124–125. ISBN 978-0-12-805429-1. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  25. ^ Baker, Steve (27 April 2016). "New developments could ID 'Jane Doe' found dead 35 years ago". WHIO. Cox Media Group. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  26. ^ Kennedy, Megan (27 April 2016). "Miami Co. cold case heats up with facial reconstruction, other developments". WDTN News. Media General. LIN Television Corporation. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  27. ^ Vallieu, Melody (16 July 2016). "'Buckskin girl' not from Ohio". WDTN. Troy Daily News. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  28. ^ Hollenhorst, John (6 July 2016). "Utah firm makes breakthrough in 1981 Ohio murder case". KSL. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  29. ^ a b Nancy Bowman (July 20, 2018). "Gravesite for 'Buckskin Girl' gets new headstone with her name". whiotv.
  30. ^ Seth Augenstein (16 April 2018). "'Buck Skin Girl' Case Break Is Success of New DNA Doe Project". Forensic Magazine.
  31. ^ Kennett, Debbie (April 28, 2018). "The brave new world of genetic genealogy". MIT Technology Review.
  32. ^ Smith, Dana (11 April 2018). "Cold case homicide victim identified after 37 years". WTDN 2. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  33. ^ ""Buckskin Girl" case: DNA breakthrough leads to ID of 1981 murder victim". Crimesider. American Broadcasting Company. 12 April 2018. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  34. ^ "The Stargazer killer".
  35. ^ "Still No Answers". The Blade. 2004.
  36. ^ a b c d e f "Prostitute Serial Killer". Unsolved Mysteries. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  37. ^ a b c "Investigators of 10 Killings to Meet". The Pittsburgh Press. 15 March 1991. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  38. ^ Sneed, Rob (30 August 2017). "Licking County Sheriff identifies Jane Doe in 1990 homicide case". Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  39. ^ a b "Mysterious 'Dr. No" sought in Ohio truck stop prostitute murder". The Pittsburgh Press. 19 April 1987. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  40. ^ Sumner, Michaela (18 February 2019). "County prosecutor doesn't believe Arizona man connected to 1990 Patrice Corley homicide". The Newark Advocate. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  41. ^ Aldrich, Marta W. (25 April 1985). "OFFICIALS PUZZLE OVER STRING OF REDHEAD MURDERS". Associated Press. Nashville, Tennessee. Retrieved 16 April 2015.

Cited works and further reading[edit]

  • Halber, Deborah (2015). The Skeleton Crew: How Amateur Sleuths Are Solving America's Coldest Cases. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1-451-65758-6.
  • Katz, Hélèna (2010). Cold Cases: Famous Unsolved Mysteries, Crimes, and Disappearances in America. Santa Barbara: Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-313-37692-4.
  • Murray, Elizabeth A. (2012). Forensic Identification: Putting a Name and Face on Death. Minneapolis: Twenty-First Century Books. ISBN 978-1-467-70139-6.
  • Newton, Michael (2004). The Encyclopedia of Unsolved Crimes. New York: Facts on File. ISBN 978-0-816-07818-9.
  • Pettem, Silvia (2017). The Long Term Missing: Hope and Help for Families. Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-1-442-25680-4.
  • Shoester, Maria (2006). Forensics in Law Enforcement. New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc. ISBN 978-1-600-21164-5.

External links[edit]