Princess Doe is the name given to an unidentified homicide victim found in Blairstown, New Jersey, United States, in 1982. The body was a young white female between the ages of 15 and 20, although she has also been stated to be as young as 14. Her face had been bludgeoned beyond recognition. The approximate height of the victim was 5 feet 2 inches (157 cm) and her weight was 110 lbs (50 kg). The body was discovered at the Cedar Ridge Cemetery in Blairstown early on the morning of 15 July 1982. She was the first unidentified decedent to be entered in the National Crime Information Center.
Currently, Princess Doe still remains unidentified. No arrests were ever made in the case, although a married couple have claimed responsibility for the victim's death. The Warren County Prosecutor's Office is the law enforcement agency investigating the case and still considers the case active. The body was buried in the Cedar Ridge Cemetery, not far from where she was discovered, in January 1983. The remains of Princess Doe were exhumed in 1999 so that samples could be collected for DNA testing, which was extracted from her femur in Baltimore, Maryland. The body was reburied in the same grave.
Discovery and examination
On the morning of July 15, 1982, gravedigger George Kise discovered the body of Princess Doe in the rear of Cedar Ridge Cemetery in Blairstown, New Jersey. The body was found lying on its back just over a steep bank that leads to a creek below. The victim's face had been beaten beyond recognition with a yet-to-be-determined object. Due to the condition of her body, her eye color could not be discerned.
The body was clad in a red short-sleeved shirt. A peasant-style skirt was found lying on top of the victim's legs. No undergarments were found. Despite this, no conclusive evidence of sexual assault was found, but this was difficult to determine because of the exposure of the body. A golden cross necklace was found tangled in the victim's hair. Two earrings were found in her left ear. Red nail polish was found on the right hand only and she had no known surgical scars, distinct birth marks or tattoos. Scars or marks on the head/face area would not be known due to the condition of the body. The front two teeth were slightly darker than the other teeth. The victim's appendix and tonsils were intact. Forensic anthropologists determined that the victim was not pregnant and had never given birth, and was most likely between the ages of 14 and 18 years old at the time of death. Toxicology did not reveal any traces of drugs but was not entirely conclusive because of the time lapse between the death and discovery of the body. It is believed that the body was discovered after 2 to 3 days or possibly weeks of exposure. This was difficult to determine because of the hot and humid weather in the area at the time.
Examination indicated that the girl had attempted to fight back or defend from her attacker, as trauma to her hands and arms was observed.
Diane Genice Dye
For many years, Princess Doe was thought to be Diane Genice Dye, a missing teenager from San Jose, California, who vanished on July 30, 1979. This theory was propagated by several law enforcement officials in the state of New Jersey, who went as far as to hold a press conference identifying Diane Dye as Princess Doe. However, Lt. Eric Kranz, the Princess Doe case's original lead investigator, maintained that Diane Dye was not a viable candidate for Princess Doe's identity. Kranz's feelings were shared by Diane's family and investigators in California, who were particularly incensed by the conduct of New Jersey law enforcement. In 2003, Princess Doe's DNA was compared with a DNA sample from Diane's mother Patricia, and it was conclusively determined that the Princess Doe was not Diane Dye.
Arthur and Donna Kinlaw
In 1999 evidence came to light that Arthur and Donna Kinlaw were responsible for Princess Doe's murder. Donna was arrested in California for attempting to commit welfare fraud by using the name "Elaina", which was traced to a Long Island native involved in Arthur's prostitution ring and gave details about two murders he committed, of two other females who remain unidentified today. After Kinlaw was faced with a death sentence, Donna told authorities that Kinlaw had killed another woman, a prostitute, earlier in 1982. She told police that she was with Arthur in the cemetery and witnessed him commit the murder. Another report states that Donna Kinlaw said that in July 1982, her husband brought home a teenage girl, left home and returned without her. He later apparently disposed of his clothing and cleaned his vehicle. Afterward, he threatened his wife, claiming if she did not attend her job, he would "take her life" as he did to the girl he brought home. However, a lack of corroboration meant that Kinlaw was not charged. Speirs stated, "[Kinlaw] claimed responsibility for her death. But I have no physical evidence to confirm that, and without the identity of Princess Doe, I have no way of connecting the dots so to speak, putting her in a place where he could have been or would have been at the same time." Spears also reported that he doubted the confession because the Kinlaws could not provide a name for Princess Doe, even though they had claimed to have been with her for a period of time. Despite that he questions the credibility of their statements, Spears does believe the victim was native to Long Island, New York. However, Donna Kinlaw was interviewed by a forensic artist who created a sketch of the girl she claimed to have met, which does resemble the most recent composite. Arthur remains incarcerated for two counts of second-degree murder.
Apart from the Kinlaws, several other suspects have been reconsidered to be involved in the case.
One theory was submitted that Princess Doe may have been a runaway and could have been an individual using false names while employed at a hotel in Ocean City, Maryland. Six people have recently come forward with suspected identities of Princess Doe. In 2012, a sample of her hair and a tooth were examined through isotope analysis and indicated that the victim was most likely born in the United States. The sample of her hair indicated that she had lived at least seven to ten months in the Midwestern or Northeastern United States. The tooth sample indicated she could possibly be from Arizona. It is also believed that the girl had spent a long period of time in Long Island, New York. After seeing images of the girl's clothing on a newspaper, a woman reported to officials that she remembered seeing a girl wearing the same clothing as Princess Doe on July 13, 1982, just two days before her body was found. The woman claimed that she was shopping with her daughter at a store across from the cemetery and observed the victim's unique clothing. The shirt and skirt themselves were traced to a manufacturer in the Midwestern United States, although the brand labels were missing. Three people reported that they bought similar clothes, after viewing photos, at a Long Island store, which is now closed. It is unknown if the store was specifically located in Long Island or possibly in other locations. The 2012 composite of the victim also generated new tips, as it resembled several missing girls from the country.
MISSING (HBO Documentary)
After extensive print media coverage in 1982, Lt. Eric Kranz, the original lead investigator from the Blairstown Police Department, was contacted by HBO regarding the Princess Doe case, and asked if the channel could chronicle the case in an upcoming documentary, entitled "MISSING". Kranz agreed, and the segment was filmed over the course of several weeks. Kranz was shown following leads as they came in, and the documentary was notable for containing actual footage of the recovery of Princess Doe's body, along with footage shot by HBO of Princess Doe's 1983 funeral. The documentary also contained a segment following the Johnny Gosch disappearance.
Lt. Kranz (now retired) coined the name, "Princess Doe" early in the investigation and also managed to get the case covered extensively in the media. The case was used as the impetus for recording unidentified crime victims in the NCIC database at the national level. Princess Doe became the first such case entered by the FBI director.
A season one episode of MTV's Fear, a paranormal reality television show, featured a completely fictionalized account of the Princess Doe murder. In the episode, airing in 2000, Princess Doe was portrayed as the victim of a cult sacrifice. Viewers were told that Princess Doe was found decapitated and missing her hands on the grounds of "Camp Spirit Lake", a fictionalized version of Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco, which is located in Hardwick Township, New Jersey. Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco is notable for having been the filming location of the first Friday the 13th film, which Lt. Eric Kranz appeared in two years before the discovery of Princess Doe's body.
The "Princess Doe" portrayed in this episode bears no resemblance to the actual murder victim. The episode's version of the Princess Doe case resembles the unsolved murder of Rosa Delgado, who was found missing her head and hands in Warren County, New Jersey in November 1997. The occult aspects presented in this episode appear to be based on notable supposed cult killings in New Jersey, such as the 1972 death of Jeannette DePalma, a teenaged resident of suburban Springfield whose body was found allegedly surrounded by "occult symbols".
The case was featured on America's Most Wanted in 2012 in hopes to generate new information in the case.
The same year, the most recent reconstruction was broadcast on CNN.
Burial and memorials
Princess Doe was buried on January 22, 1983 after she had remained unidentified for over five months. Funds were donated for a coffin and headstone for the victim.
On July 15, 2012, a memorial service was held for the 30th anniversary of Princess Doe being discovered, at the top of the ravine where her remains were found. Over 100 citizens attended as well as several reporters and cameras. The victim's clothing as well as her reconstructions were displayed for public viewing.
On October 12, 2014, Princess Doe was honored at a missing person's rally in the area.
- NCIC Case Number: U-630870962
- Porchlight for the Missing Case Number: NJF820715