Princess Doe’s 38-Year-Old Cold Case
Despite numerous television appeals, her identity is still unknown.
She’s been featured on America’s Most Wanted, Missing on HBO and has even been fictionalised on the MTV show Fear, but her family has never been found, and as her headstone reads, she lies dead among strangers. It’s time she reclaimed her name.
On the 15th of July 1982, a maintenance worker came across her body at the southeast corner of Cedar Ridge Cemetery in Blairstown, New Jersey. She was discovered lying on her stomach, and as she was turned over, officers saw that someone had viciously beaten her face beyond recognition, and her skull had been destroyed. Forensics determined that the young woman had been lying there, undiscovered, for 1–3 weeks.
Princess Doe facial reconstruction via NCMEC
The young girl was thought to be between fourteen and eighteen years old, white and around 5 feet 2 inches in height. She wore a “peasant” skirt with peacocks on it and a red shirt, but no shoes or underwear were found. She had a gold cross around her neck and red polish on her fingernails. There was no trace of drugs in her system, and she had no surgical scars, tattoos or birthmarks on her body. She had trauma to her hands and arms from attempting to fight her attacker or defend herself.
Despite taking her fingerprints and dental records, there was no match made to the girl, and with no leads, her case went cold.
The clothing she sore via thinkingsidewayspodcast.com
In 1985, a press conference was held in the basement of Warren County Courthouse, where officials stated that there were multiple physical similarities between Princess Doe and another missing girl, 13-year-old Diane Dye, who disappeared in 1979 from San Jose. However, not everyone agreed.
The lead investigator on Princess’ case, Lt. Eric Kranz, didn’t believe that the two girls were the same, and Diane’s family reciprocated his feelings. In 2013, the police eventually compared DNA samples from Princess Doe and Diane’s mother, but the results concluded that they were not the same girl.
In 1999, Donna and Arthur Kinlaw were arrested in California for attempting to commit welfare fraud. However, in Donna’s interview, she began to tell police about the murders of multiple women.
They’d met “Linda” at a reggae bar in Bay Shore in April 1984. She told police that they’d lured her away from the bar, where Arthur hit Linda in the head with a baseball back. She’d refused to join the sex worker ring he ran in Hunts Point, New York, so he killed her. Linda’s body was dumped in the East River, near the NYC Department of Sanitation, and she washed up a few weeks later. Her identity still remains unknown.
Donna then told police about the tenant who lived in their house, that Arthur had beaten to death in 1983. The woman was disabled and relied on crutches to move around. Arthur buried her in the yard of their home and poured cement over her grave. Police dug up her body in December 2000, but once again, her identity remains unknown.
Donna moved on to Christina Kozma, a woman who had joined Arthur’s sex ring to pay for her drug habit. She’d been shot to death by Arthur and discarded in Coram in a wooded area because she didn’t want to work for him anymore.
She then told police that Arthur had brought home a teenage girl in July 1982. She said that the pair had left together, and Arthur returned home later that night without the girl, changed out of his clothes and dumped them after cleaning his car. She also claimed he’d admitted to Princess’ murder.
In an article from Newsday, Donna stated, “He told me if I didn’t go to work, he would do to me what he did to the other girl. In the middle of the arguing, I said, ‘Well, what did you do to the other girl?’ He said, ‘I’ll take your life just like I took hers.’”
Her statement was full of conjecture, and some of the details didn’t add up when police spoke to Arthur about the crimes. He told a detective that Donna had actually witnessed him beating Princess to death in the cemetery.
Arthur Kinlaw wasn’t charged for Princess Doe’s murder, despite claiming responsibility for her death. One of the reasons for a lack of conviction was because he and Donna were unable to name the teenager Arthur brought home with him. There was also no evidence he’d killed her.
However, he was eventually sent to prison on two counts of second-degree murder. Donna pleaded guilty to manslaughter and received 3 to 10 years for Linda’s murder.
Linda also sat with a sketch artist to help build an image of the teenager they’d killed but compared to the computer-generated image created by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, they were very different people.
(l-r) The sketch aided by Donna Kinlaw, the computer generation from the NCMEC via Long Island Press.
In the media
Lt. Eric Kranz was contacted by HBO, who was making a documentary named MISSING. The documentary showed footage of finding Princess’ body in the cemetery and detailed information about her case, but no leads came from the documentary.
Part of the HBO documentary via YouTube
Season one of MTV’s Fear showed a fictionalised version of Princess Doe’s murder in 2000. She was portrayed as a sacrifice and that she’d been decapitated, blurring truth and entertainment.
In 2012, Princess Doe was featured on America’s Most Wanted, to help generate interest in her case, and a reconstruction of her murder was also broadcast on CNN. Still, no valuable leads were received from either broadcast.
The same year, The Untold Story of Princess Doe was authored by Christie Leigh Napurano, which included theoretical musings of what happened to the teenager.
2012 computer composite via NCMEC
Princess Doe was eventually buried in the same cemetery she was discovered, five months after her death. Her headstone was bought with donations from locals and well-wishers. It reads;
MISSING FROM HOME
DEAD AMONG STRANGERS
REMEMBERED BY ALL
BORN — ? FOUND JULY 15, 1982
She was laid to rest without any arrests made for her murder, and although the case remains active, little has been done in recent years to help identify this young woman. Details of her case can be found on the Doe Network.
Information tips can be called into the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office: 1–908–689–3922.