There are many unsolved murders throughout history. Even in the contemporary age with the abundance of technologies, techniques, and surveillance cameras all around, no less, some untoward deaths remain a mystery. However, the case of “Princess Doe” is an unsolved murder of an unknown victim, for unknown reasons. Discovered in the summer of 1982 the identity of the brutally murdered teenage female remains uncertain. Even today, despite continued investigations and appeals into her death, the identity of the young woman, or how she ended up in such dire circumstances is still an enigma.
As you might imagine, there have been plenty of theories put forward over the three and a half decades since the body of the young girl was discovered on the edge of a New Jersey cemetery. And, as we will examine, there is a good chance the perpetrator of this horrific killing is already behind bars. However, the lack of evidence means the case will likely remain unsolved for the foreseeable future, possibly forever.
Before we examine this extraordinary, if dark case in a little more detail, check out the video below. It is a short news segment from 2012, thirty years after the discovery of the Princess Doe body. Using modern technology, it looks at a 3D image of just how this once living, breathing person might have looked. It also gives a brief summary of the case. Perhaps a good example of just how much this mysterious and unsettling murder remains within the collective psyche of the area.
A Most Horrific Discovery In The Summer Of 1982
George Kise would make his way to work at the Ceder Ridge Cemetery in Blairstown, New Jersey as normal on the morning of 15th July 1982. However, shortly after arriving and going about his duties, his morning was about to become anything but normal. Towards the back of the cemetery, over a ridge that leads towards a shallow stretch of water, was the body of a young girl. At least he thought it was a girl. The face was so badly beaten it was literally no longer there. In its place was just a pulp of mashed flesh and crumbled fragmented bone.
When local police arrived at the scene, they would discover the body of the young girl, wrapped in a short-sleeved red shirt around the torso and a “peasant-style skirt” lying over the top of her legs, laying on her back. Her underwear was missing, although there was no absolute evidence of sexual assault. Given the unknown amount of time the body might have laid there, however, this could not be ruled out entirely. Her body could have been there for several days. It could, though, have been there several weeks.
Further examinations would reveal the estimated age of the young girl to be somewhere between 14 to 18 years of age. No drugs and only extremely faint traces of alcohol were discovered in her body, although like the examinations for signs of sexual assault, the unknown time of death meant this too wasn’t entirely conclusive.
In her hair was a tangled gold necklace with a cross on it, likely a result of the obvious fight she put up against her attacker from the defensive injuries to her hands and arms. Even the eye color of “Princess Doe” remains unknown due to her extensive injuries.
Erased With A Vengeance!
The cause of death was almost certainly the repeated and intense beating with an unknown blunt instrument to the head. The result of which had literally pulverized the young girl’s face. One of the investigators on the case, Eric Kranz, would state to the media, “She was erased. Her assailant erased her. There was nothing left of her. Whoever did this did it with a vengeance”.
However, working out who her assailant was would be no easy task. Not least because the identity of the victim or the wider circumstances surrounding her death were a complete mystery. Her fingerprints and dental records would bring no matches.
They were able to determine she had never given birth, nor was she pregnant at the time of her death. She appeared to be a normal, healthy teenage girl. Just how she ended up in this most desperate and ultimately fatal situation was as mysterious as her identity. There were several theories and claims as to who she may have been, however.
Initially, perhaps in desperation to solve the case, a missing teenager from the other side of the country in San Jose, California, Diane Genice Dye, was linked with the Princess Doe case. The aforementioned Kranz was an almost lone voice against several New Jersey investigators who were “certain” Diane Dye was Princess Doe. Incidentally, the Dye family always maintained their daughter was not the Princess Doe girl in New Jersey. They were also extremely (and rightly) critical of the New Jersey Police Department’s handling of the case. Both the Dyes and Kranz would receive vindication in 2003 and DNA from Dye’s mother eliminated her from the case for good.
The Arthur And Donna Kinlaw Connection
Five years before the official ruling out of Diane Dye as Princess Doe, in 1998, the wife of Arthur Kinlaw, a “career criminal” who ran prostitution rings among a wide range of crimes stretching back most of his adult life was arrested for welfare fraud in California. Whether she was simply saving her own skin or had a sudden rush of honesty, Donna Kinlaw would claim her husband had murdered several women, including some of the prostitutes who had worked for him over the years.
According to Donna, Arthur murdered “Linda”, a prostitute working for him, sometime in 1984 by beating her to death with a baseball bat. He then dumped her body in the East River. Another of his apparent victims was an unnamed woman who rented a property from Arthur. She was a particularly large woman, so large in fact she was classed as obese and required crutches to walk. Arthur murdered her while she stood in the backyard before pouring cement over her body and making a “patio area”. Interestingly, bodies matching these murders would surface upon investigation. Furthermore, he would eventually receive prison sentences for them. Donna meanwhile would receive a lesser sentence for her indirect involvement after the fact.
All of these were obviously of interest to the police. However, it was a victim that Donna couldn’t name that was most intriguing to them. In the summer of 1982 in the Long Island area, Arthur had taken in a new girl and put her to work. She was around 18-years-old and he would ultimately beat her to death in a cemetery in New Jersey. Might this unfortunate victim of the apparently extremely violent Arthur Kinlaw prove to be the elusive Princess Doe?
Vague Confessions But No Solid Evidence! Or An Identity!
Although the exact reasons as to why he chose to murder her in July 1982 remain a mystery themselves, Arthur, according to Donna, would mercilessly beat the teenager to death. If we accept Donna’s version of events, he most likely used the same baseball bat he would use to murder “Linda” with two years later.
However, despite Donna’s information, and Arthur’s largely nonchalant non-denying attitude, there was no evidence to conclusively prove they were telling the truth about the Princess Doe girl. And even if there were, it still didn’t shine any light on who the tragic young woman once was. Where she came from, and who, if anyone, might be wondering, even today, where their daughter, sister, or friend might be.
Incidentally, neither of the Kinlaws have ever changed their claims. Neither, though, have ever faced charges for the death of the mystery teenage girl discovered in the New Jersey cemetery. In fact, nobody, as we shall see, would ever face charges regarding the unnerving and bone-chilling death of Princess Doe. Many suspects were profiled, some even interviewed, but no official arrests were ever made in what is perhaps one of the strangest murders of the latter half of twentieth-century American history.
As technology improved, though, the case was continually revisited. And further details have come to light. For his part, Kranz, who has worked on the case since day one stated recently, “There hasn’t been a day – not a day – that has gone by where I don’t work on this case”. Whether his persistence will ever pay off, for him and the identity behind Princess Doe remains to be seen.
The Latimer Witness! Recollection From Three Decades Ago!
Following extensive samples of the remains of her clothing and one of her teeth in 2012, several interesting details would emerge. For example, it would appear she was most likely born in the United States, possibly from the west near Arizona. She had at some stage in her short life spent a prolonged time of around a year in the Midwest or northeast part of America. And had spent most of her life in and around the Long Island area.
These details would appear in newspapers across the country. Including reconstructed pictures of the girl’s clothing and how she would have appeared on the day of her death. One witness, a woman known as “Latimer” on the east coast, who was in the New Jersey area at the time of Princess Doe’s death would contact investigators. She claimed to have most definitely seen the young girl two days before her discovery, on the 13th July 1982.
She would claim she and her young daughter were at the shopping center opposite the cemetery where the body came to light. Despite the three decades that had passed, she distinctly remembered the girl after seeing the clothing reconstruction. She would recall to the media that her daughter would state the peacock on the bottom of the skirt the victim donned was an eagle. She would even contemplate asking the girl where she got the skirt from. However, then something else would capture her attention and she thought nothing else of it. Until seeing the newspaper pictures.
Investigators of the case would even have Latimer undergo hypnotic regression in the hope of unlocking memories she had simply forgotten. However, despite genuine attempts to do so, she knew no more than what she had already offered.
Tragic, All Too Real, And Still Unsolved!
There are literally hundreds of possible “matches” on the data-board maintained on the official Princess Doe website. Identifying an absolute positive match will likely prove to be impossible. The identity of Princess Doe is perhaps to remain a mystery for eternity. In that respect, in a strange, ironic, and most definitely sad type of way, she will live on for eternity. Forever depicted how she might have been, perhaps a little different in each person’s mind.
The story of Princess Doe is tragic, of that there is no doubt. It is also a reminder of how precarious, not only our existence is, but even the memory of it. Not to mention the reasons why someone would cut short a life so brutally and needlessly.
There is a general theory that the young girl was possibly a “runaway”. Who perhaps, after making her way east, had turned to prostitution for the obvious tragic reasons. A decision that ultimately led her down the path to the person who would murder her.
Or, while perhaps less likely but certainly not impossible, she was the victim of a kidnapping. Possibly of a “professional nature” when she was young and put into one of the many alleged “prostitution rings”. Perhaps she escaped from this potential environment only for her captors to find and then murder her. Maybe her escape led her to prostitution on the streets of the Long Island area. And ultimately the same sickening scenario highlighted in the first example.
While we must remember the victims of such cases are all too real, so are the crimes themselves. For this reason alone, we should always continue looking at such cases lest something previously missed suddenly shines through.
Check out the short video below from around 1983. Extremely interesting, if equally grim, footage.