Gravesite for ‘Buckskin Girl’ gets new headstone with her name

Published: Friday, July 20, 2018 @ 8:00 PM

Marcia Sossomon King was found dead in Miami County 37 years ago. She was known as the 'Bucksin Girl' until her remains were recently identified.

It took nearly 37 years before a positive ID was made of Jane Doe whose body was found along a Miami County road, but only a short time for donations and creation of a new stone marking her grave in Troy.

RELATED: Jane Doe no more: Miami County sheriff IDs cold case victim 37 years later

Marcia Sossomon King of Arkansas, who was 21 when she died in 1981, was remembered Friday with the placement of the stone and a memorial service at Riverside Cemetery. The name Sossomon, her father’s last name, was added at the request of her family.

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The body of the Jane Doe, also known as “Buckskin Girl” for the jacket, was buried at the city cemetery weeks after its discovery with a marker identifying the grave as Jane Doe’s.

Nine members of King’s family attended the Friday service.

“Words don’t describe the feelings we have for all of you, how you have loved her and taken her in your arms,” said her stepmother Cindy Sossoman.

RELATED: With ID, investigation intensifies into ‘buckskin girl’s’ unsolved homicide

She said King’s father, John Sossomon, died in January, a few months before she was identified. Cindy Sossomon said King was very trusting and obviously fell into the wrong hands. However, thanks to Miami County investigators and the community, she soon “was in good hands ... in the loving hands of people here.”

King’s identity was confirmed this spring thanks to new genetic genealogy tools by the nonprofit DNA Doe Project with ID confirmation by the Miami Valley Regional Crime Lab.

She died of strangulation and blunt force trauma to the head. She had no socks, shoes, bags or any form of ID. She did have a buckskin jacket, which was shown in efforts to find out her name and led to her being known as the Buckskin Girl.

“We are grateful this day has come, that Marcia has a name other than Buckskin Girl,” said the Rev. Greg Simmons, chaplain of the Miami County Fraternal Order of Police lodge.

The stone was the result of a private fundraising effort led by retired Piqua police officer Paul Sullenberger with assistance from the FOP lodge. He asked the some 50 people gathered to say King’s full name aloud.

“Her name is written in stone and etched in our hearts and minds,” Sullenberger said.

“I just can’t thank people enough,” Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak said of the efforts to provide the stone.

RELATED: How they did it: Groundbreaking technology reveals ID in 37-year-old cold case

Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Steve Lord said the investigation into who killed King continues with a focus on establishing a timeline for the days and weeks leading to the discovery of her body.

“She has been placed in Louisville, Kentucky, approximately 14 days prior to her being found,” he said. “We continue to seek the assistance from anyone that may have had contact with her in April of 1981 in Ohio or Kentucky.

Anyone with information is urged to call the sheriff’s tip line at 937-440-3990 or leave tips at www.miamicountysheriff.org/contactus-1.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com

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