Investigators Suggest An Identity For Teen-Ager’s Body Found 2( Years Ago
BELVIDERE, N.J. (AP) _ Investigators said Wednesday they believe a California girl who left home nearly six years ago may be ″Princess Doe,″ the name given to a teen-ager whose badly beaten body was found in a cemetery in July 1982.
Princess Doe, named by an officer who wished to set her apart from other unidentified bodies called Jane or John Doe by police, became a symbol of missing persons cases.
Her description was the first entry in the National Crime Information Center Missing Person’s Computer Network on June 30, 1983, at FBI headquarters in Washington. She was the subject of a nationwide search that included the distribution of 20,000 flyers of a facial reconstruction.
Warren County Prosecutor Howard McGinn said officials have a ″strong suspicion″ that the body may be that of Diane Genice Dye of San Jose, Calif.
″At this point in time available evidence shows many similarities between Princess Doe and Diane Dye but no conclusive identification of them being one and the same can be made,″ McGinn said. ″I wouldn’t call it a tentative identification.″
Miss Dye was 13 when she left home on July 30, 1979, possibly distressed by her since-divorced parents’ marital problems. She was last seen in late December 1981 by a friend at a shopping mall about 50 miles north of San Jose, McGinn said.
The prosecutor said the girl told her friend she did not intend to go home and ″didn’t particularly want her whereabouts known.″
Princess Doe was found on July 15, 1982, by workers at the Cedar Ridge Cemetery, in the rural western New Jersey community of Blairstown. Due to hot, humid weather, the facial features were decomposed.
The California shopping mall is about five miles from the western end of Interstate 80, and the cemetery is also about five miles from I-80, McGinn said.
Investigators determined Princess Doe had been killed by a blow to the head from a blunt instrument about three days before her body was found. They said she was from 14 to 18 years old, 5-foot-2 and 105 pounds, with brown, shoulder- length hair.
Miss Dye’s mother, Patricia Dawes of Eugene, Ore., said that despite the findings, ″I can’t believe this girl they are saying is her is her.″
″I haven’t given up hope,″ she told the San Jose Mercury News. ″She told her brother she was going to leave for two or three days just to scare her mom and dad ... She was upset becasue I would not let her hang around on the corner.″
The girl’s father, Bill Dye of San Jose, told the newspaper: ″Everything is inconclusive. They have had four different dental experts review the X- rays. One would say ‘Yes, it is (a match.)’ The other would say, ’No it isn’t.‴
San Jose police notified New Jersey authorities in April 1984 after noticing that Miss Dye’s description matched that of Princess Doe.
McGinn said the characteristics, body structure and some dental work were similar. However, he said the last dental X-ray of Ms. Dye was taken in 1976 when she was 10 and Princess Doe appeared to have more extensive dental work.
Blood tests did not rule out a positive identification but did not provide proof because of decomposition, McGinn said.
Former Blairstown police Lt. Eric Kranz named Princess Doe and his efforts to identify her brought the case national attention. Kranz, who resigned last November to join the Foundation To Find and Protect New Jersey’s Children, was not invited to the news conference here and could not be reached for comment.
He arranged for her to be buried in the cemetery where she was found under a gravestone that reads in part: ″Missing From Home. Dead Among Strangers. Remembered By All.″