The Warren County Prosecutor’s Office announced that a murdered girl who was called Princess Doe after her remains were found 40 years ago in a New Jersey cemetery has been identified as Dawn Olanick, a Long Island teenager.
Charges have been filed against the man they believe killed Olanick, Arthur Kinlaw, 68, who is currently serving 20 years to life in Sullivan County, New York, on two first-degree murder convictions.
Authorities said Kinlaw tried to lure Olanick into prostitution and after she refused, he killed the 17-year-old high school junior from West Babylon, New York.
Her remains were found July 25, 1982, in Cedar Ridge Cemetery in Blairstown, in northwestern New Jersey near the Pennsylvania border. Authorities have said she was beaten beyond recognition.
Residents of the area gave her a burial, and she became known as Princess Doe, a name given to her by investigators who sought to identify her.
Her burial site contains a gravestone that reads: “Princess Doe. Missing from home. Dead among strangers. Remembered by all.”
She was wearing distinct clothing and the nails on her right hand were painted red while her left hand had no nail polish, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
With the help of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Princess Doe’s molar and eyelash were submitted to Astrea Forensics in 2021, for possible DNA extraction.
“What is so special about Astrea is that they are able to extract DNA from samples that are degraded or otherwise would provide no value,” said Carol Schweitzer, forensic supervisor at NCMEC. “We knew that if anyone could get the information that was needed, Astrea could.”
The DNA testing and investigative genetic genealogy techniques ultimately identified Princess Doe as Olanick on April 29.
“For 40 years, law enforcement has not given up on Princess Doe,” Warren County Prosecutor James Pfeiffer said during a news conference with New Jersey State Police and other law enforcement and assisting agencies.
According to Pfeiffer, Princess Doe was the first unidentified persons case to be entered into NCIC, the National Crime Information Center, by then Director of the FBI, William Webster, on June 30, 1983, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children reported.
“This was a historic moment for missing and unidentified persons that has continued to play a crucial role in investigations since,” the center said.
Kinlaw confessed to the Princess Doe slaying in written statements dating to 2005, but the prosecutor said determining the victim’s identity was crucial to assembling a solid case.
In a lawsuit filed against officials in New York, Kinlaw claimed that he was negligently released from prison on parole on March 24, 1977 without adequate provision for ongoing supervision and psychiatric services and, as a result, committed three murders.