The word “poignant” comes from a scrap of Latin that means “to sting” or “to pierce.” It isn’t hard to understand why when you consider the case of Marcia King’s mother.
Understand that, for 37 years, King’s mother lived with the hope that she might see her daughter again. In 1981, King went missing, and over the nearly four decades since, her mother did everything she could to ensure that she could potentially find her one day.
In addition to cooperating with authorities, she stayed in the same house in Arkansas. She also never changed her phone number.
But news came forth this month that revealed a heartbreaking truth: King would never return home.
On April 24, 1981, authorities found a woman’s body in a ditch in Miami County Ohio. They could discern her sex and what killed her, but her identity remained a mystery.
Experts attempted computer-assisted facial construction, ran isotope tests on her hair, and even examined the pollen on her clothes. But it was all for naught — at least until the advent of the DNA Doe Project.
Identified this week after nearly 37 years — new methodology led to her name — Marcia L. King of Arkansas. So…
This nonprofit sorts through public DNA databases in an attempt to match missing persons with potential blood relatives.
“This is not your run of the mill ‘DNA solves unidentified person,’” forensic anthropologist Dr. Elizabeth Murray told CBS News.
The dead woman, who’d become known as Buckskin Girl due to the clothing she was wearing at the time of her death, was a perfect candidate for the DNA Doe Project. And when she went through the system, there was a match.
Buckskin Girl turned out to be none other than Marcia King, a discovery that must have simultaneously heartened and hurt her family. They had closure of both the best and worst kind.
Police, though, seem heartened by the discovery, thrilled that they can move a case once thought dead toward finding King’s killer.
“The identification of the victim is critical in advancing the investigation toward finding the person or persons responsible for this crime,” Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak explained to ABC News.
Murray also believes that the DNA Doe Project could help other missing persons. “I said, ‘I have the cases, if you have the technology.’”