Miami Valley woman identified in 40-year-old Illinois cold case

Brenda S. (Olinger) Black. Photo courtesy the Miami County Sheriff's Office.

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Brenda S. (Olinger) Black. Photo courtesy the Miami County Sheriff's Office.

Buckskin Girl investigation leads to an identification in another cold case

An investigation in a Miami County missing persons case from 1981 helped lead to the recent identification of a missing Miami Valley woman in an Illinois cold case.

The Will County Coroner’s Office in Illinois identified the skeletal remains of a female found along I-80 in April 1981 as Brenda S. (Olinger) Black, according to the Miami County Sheriff’s Office.

The identification was made using similar technology developed during the Miami County Sheriff’s Office’s investigation into the Buckskin Girl case.

The Will County Coroner’s Office sent samples from the remains to the Othram Laboratory to process the full genome sequencing and for forensic genealogy testing last year. The investigation led to data entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) and Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) by the Miami County Sheriff’s Office.

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Will County investigators then got a sample of Black’s daughter’s DNA for testing. The sample confirmed the skeletal remains found in Illinois 40 years ago were Brenda Black, according to the sheriff’s office.

Investigators in Will County, Illinois, are looking into her death. Anyone with information that could help in the investigation into Brenda Black’s death should call Chief Deputy Steve Lord at 937-440-3980.

In 2015, Black’s brother, Allie Black, contacted the Miami County Sheriff’s Office after watching a newscast on the 34th anniversary of the Buckskin Girl, according to the sheriff’s office.

The unidentified female homicide victim was found on Greenlee Road wearing a buckskin jacket in April 1981.

Allie Black reportedly believed the victim could have been his sister, who had not had contact with the family since the early 1980s. Her last known residence was in Vandalia, but because Brenda Black had moved around, her family never reported her as missing, according to the sheriff’s office.

Allie Black provided a sample of his DNA to be compared against the victim. The profile was then entered in NamUs and CODIS, which led to his sister’s identification approximately five years later.

In 2017, the Buckskin Girl, was identified as Marcia King of Little Rock, Arkansas.

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