I grew up in Ohio – not rural, rural, Ohio, but a suburb that was surrounding on one side by a moderately sized city, and the other three sides by rural, rural, Ohio. And I spent a large part of my childhood in rural Ohio. In the late 70’s and early 80’s, I spent most of my weekends and summers at my cousin’s farm playing and exploring the barns and silos that we were supposed to stay clear of (the creepier the barn, the better). And as a teenager my sister Debbie and I or my friends and I would cruise the back roads of Ohio sometimes looking for something scary or haunted (like the devil’s backbone or an abandoned house) or just cruising the flat, endless country roads so we would have something to do. I know we must have cruised down every back road in Greene, Montgomery, Clark, and Miami Counties.
So I know rural Ohio.
But I never knew this.
Sometimes, well a lot of the time, I go on these tangents. Not bad tangents, just tangents. (tangent is a weird word. look at it. it makes me want to eat something citrusy.) Anyway…what happens is, I start interested in one topic and it leads me somewhere that leads me somewhere that leads me to something I never knew, but is somehow related to me. Sometimes its a place I’ve been or a clue I’ve found on another subject I’m
obsessed with researching. This time my little trail of unrelated research led me to this.
To Buckskin Girl.
To rural Ohio circa 1981.
Authorities don’t know who she is. And like others, I have exhaustively searched databases of missing persons looking for someone who looked like her, but have come up empty. And when I take on a new obsession, I always make sure I call my sister Debbie because I know she will jump on the obsession bandwagon and help me search for clues. But nonetheless, this is all that is known about Buckskin Girl.
It was April 1981.
She was found face down on the side of a rural road in Troy, Ohio (Miami County).
She had blunt force trauma to her head and was strangled to death.
She was between 18-26 years old and of average height and weight.
Her hair was reddish-brown and braided into two braids. She had freckles.
She was dressed in jeans and a deerskin poncho – that’s where she got her name – Buckskin Girl.
She had no shoes.
It has been 25 years since she was killed and she is still unnamed. She has friends or family somewhere who don’t know what happened to her.
There are theories. One of which is that of a suspected serial killer in Ohio who killed women in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Other girls during this time period had been killed in the same manner and the killer had taken their jewelry – Buckskin girl had no jewelry as well.
Something about her speaks to us.
She needs a name.
She needs justice.
Her family and friends need closure.
Her name needs to be spoken. She mattered.
My Theory of What Happened to Buckskin Girl
I think Buckskin Girl was not from the area and was hitchhiking, as happened often around that time. She was picked up, I believe by a truck driver, and was relaxed enough to take off her shoes. Her feet had been hurting. At some point the killer tried to sexually attack her and hit her with an object on her head and neck. For some reason (was he interrupted?) he was unable to finish his horrific task and strangled her. He drove the few miles off of the highway and dumped her body. This was not his last victim.
Update: Buckskin girl has been identified through DNA analysis. Her name is Marcia King of North Little Rock, Arkansas. The hard work of so many to identify this young woman is so amazing and appreciated. Now its time to find her killer.
For more information on Buckskin Girl: