Patty Lisa McDaniel

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Above Images: Patty, circa 1979

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: September 15, 1979 from Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Age: 17 years old
  • Height and Weight: 5'4 - 5'6, 120 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Brown hair, blue eyes. Patty is blind in her right eye. She has poor vision and wears eyeglasses. Her upper right front tooth is chipped and her lower right arm has previously been fractured.
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description: Size 6 1/2 shoes.
  • Medical Conditions: Patty suffers from a mild mental disability due to oxygen deprivation at birth.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Patty disappeared with her fraternal twin sister, Peggy, in 1979. Their parents were divorced and the girls grew up with their mother, Joyce Rivituso, in New Jersey. Rivituso decided to separate them so they could become more independent of one another, and sent Peggy to live with her father and his new wife in Live Oak, Florida. The girls missed each other so much, however, that in early 1979 Patty went to live with her father and stepmother as well.

    During the summer of 1979, Peggy and Patty got to know a 19-year-old man named Marvin Warren. They ultimately left with Warren and his friend, 36-year-old Eddie Gross, to Pompano Beach, Florida, 365 miles from Live Oak. The twins got jobs there, and Gross rented an apartment for everyone to live in. A few weeks after their move to Pompano Beach, Peggy and Patty sent a letter to their mother asking for their help to move back to New Jersey. They didn't include a phone number to reach them, only a mailing address. Rivituso wrote back telling them to go to the airport and call her collect as soon as possible. Her daughters didn't call or write her, so she sent a second letter with the same instructions, but she still didn't hear back.

    Rivituso then called Pompano Beach Police Department to ask them to perform a welfare check on Patty and Peggy. Officers with the Lauderhill Police Department told her the twins may have witnessed a homicide, and Rivituso immediately went to Florida. When she arrived, the police told her Peggy had filed a missing persons report for Patty on September 13, saying she had been missing for two days, but Patty went to the police station the next day and canceled it. Afterwards, a 25-year-old man named Nelson George Johnson confronted Gross and accused him of hiding Patty during the time she was missing. Johnson then went home to his family and told them he was going to take Peggy and Patty to a disco club called The Plank.

    That night, September 15, Peggy, Patty and Johnson all disappeared. Four days later, Johnson's body was found in the trunk of his car behind a tire store. He'd been shot to death. His vehicle had been wiped clean of fingerprints and a briefcase containing $1,100 in cash was missing; it was never located. Johnson's murder has never been solved.

    When questioned by police, Gross claimed Patty and Peggy had left their apartment with a man in a white Chevrolet Vega a week before Johnson's murder. Police checked the apartment and could find no sign of the twins or any evidence that they'd ever lived there. Their bicycles were later found at Warren's mother's home. A year after the twins disappeared, someone broke into their father's home and took only their clothes. Rivituso doesn't believe the burglar was either of her daughters, since they had keys to the house and wouldn't need to break in. She speculates that whoever committed the burglary wanted to make it look like Peggy and Patty were alive and had left of their own free will.

    There was a possible sighting of Patty and Peggy at a truck stop on the Florida Turnpike after they disappeared. A woman working there allowed the two girls to stay with her for some time because she was concerned for their safety; they told her they were being stalked. They said they were thinking of going to their uncle's home in Vero Beach, Florida; the McDaniels did have an uncle in Vero Beach. The woman stated the twins simply vanished from her home one day, taking their belongings with them.

    Patty and Peggy's mother believes her daughters witnessed Johnson's murder and were killed as a result. There has been no sign of them since 1979.

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Lauderhill Police Department
    954-497-4700

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    Source Information
    NamUs
    The Orlando Sentinel
    Facebook Page for Peggy and Patty McDaniel
    Websleuths

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    Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated July 12, 2017; casefile added.

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