Joanna Kay Otto

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Above Images: Otto, circa 1992


Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: November 20, 1992 from Pensacola, Florida
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Date of Birth: August 3, 1973
  • Age: 19 years old
  • Height and Weight: 5'7, 140 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Brown hair, brown eyes. Otto's nickname is Jo.
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description: A white sweater, blue shorts with lace trim, a silver necklace and gold earrings.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Otto was last seen on November 20, 1992. She and her roommate went to a party, but her roommate became ill and had to go home. Otto got a ride home later with a friend, 27-year-old James Earl Gibson. He later told police that he took two other people home and then dropped Otto off at her apartment at Maison de Ville Apartments in the 800 block of Royce Street. She never arrived home and has never been heard from again.

    Otto had a history of dropping out of sight for days at a time, but she'd never been gone for longer than three days without calling home, and her family became worried after she failed to contact them over Thanksgiving. She was not reported missing until December 8. She was unemployed at the time of her disappearance, but looking for a job, and had gotten an interview for a position at the mall.

    A photo of Gibson is posted below this case summary. He is currently incarcerated, serving a 35-year sentence for a 1994 kidnapping and rape. He had abducted an eighteen-year-old girl, an acquaintance of Otto's, sexually assaulted her and held her for nearly nine hours before releasing her. Authorities believe he could be a serial killer. He has not been charged in Otto's case, however.

    Otto was born in Dotham, Alabama and attended Woodham High School in Pensacola. She dropped out of high school in her junior year. Her mother described her as a trusting individual who loved going to parties. Foul play is suspected in her case.

    Some agencies state that Otto vanished on November 21, 1992.

    Above: Gibson, circa 2010


    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Escambia County Sheriff's Office


    Source Information
    Florida Department Of Law Enforcement
    Escambia County Sheriff's Office
    Hawkshaw Lagoon Memorial Park
    The Florida Catholic
    The Doe Network
    Florida Department of Corrections
    WEAR 3
    The Pensacola News Journal


    Updated 5 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated June 24, 2017; picture and clothing/jewelry description added, distinguishing characteristics and details of disappearance updated.

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