Patricia Otto, age 24, was last seen at her Lewiston, Idaho residence on August 31, 1976. After an altercation with her husband, she vanished and has not been seen or heard from since.
When Patricia disappeared, she was married to Ralph Otto, who was 18 years her senior. They had two little girls, Suzanne, 3 years old, and Natalie, 5 years old.
In the spring of 1976, she filed for divorce, but they reunited by Mother’s Day.
Details of Disappearance
On August 31, 1976, at approximately 11 p.m., Patrica picked up her girls from their grandmother’s house and returned home.
According to her husband, Ralph Otto, Patricia left their home after a dispute and never returned.
Suzanne, the daughter of Patricia, remembers witnessing her father strike her mother, then “take her up and wrap his hands around her neck” before dragging her out of sight.
The next day, Patricia’s sister reported her missing to the Lewiston Police when Ralph dropped off the children at her house and said he was going to seek for her.
Investigation of Case
Authorities suspect Patricia was murdered by her husband Ralph Otto, despite the fact that he was never charged in her case.
On October 27, 1976, Ralph was arrested for attempted murder after discovering that the hitman he hired was an undercover officer.
He was found guilty and given a 10-year jail sentence.
In 1981, his conviction was reversed by a Supreme Court decision based on the fact that Idaho lacked a statute recognizing paying someone to commit murder as comparable to attempted murder.
A few years later, he died while being detained on unrelated charges at the Clearwater County Jail.
Their daughters were raised by their paternal aunt and uncle after their father’s death.
Finley Creek Jane Doe
On August 27, 1978, the skeleton remains of an unnamed woman were discovered in Finley Creek, near Elgin, Oregon, approximately three hours from Lewiston.
This section of Finley Creek Jane Doe wore red polyester slacks and a white top, identical to what Patrica was said to have been wearing when she disappeared.
However, the Finley Creek Jane Doe case in Oregon was designated a murder investigation, thrown out, and closed in 1990 because neither the cause of death nor the identification of the victim could be determined.
The State of Oregon burned the body and destroyed the garments she was wearing.
When Patricia’s daughter Suzanne Timms discovered a forensic drawing of the Finley Creek Jane Doe created by Redgrave Research Forensic Services, she was convinced it was her mother and began working with organizations to confirm her identity.
To date the Finley Creek Jane Doe remains unidentified.
Patricia Otto’s disappearance is strongly thought to be the result of foul play, with her late husband Ralph Otto as the major suspect.
Patricia Otto’s location remains unknown.
Suzanne, the daughter of Patricia, continues to search for answers in her mother’s case and manages the Patty’s Voice Facebook page.
Female Caucasian born on August 4, 1952 Patricia has blonde hair, eyes, a height of 5’3″ and a weight of 140 pounds.
Patty is her nickname, and she has a scar on her back.
Patricia is suspected to have been missing while wearing red pants and a white shell blouse.
If you have any information regarding the disappearance of Patricia Otto please contact the Lewiston Police Department at (208) 746-0171.
Resources & Further Information
Patty’s Voice – Facebook
Patricia Lee Otto – The Charley Project
Patricia Lee Otto – NamUS
Patricia Lee Otto – The Doe Network