Joanne Williams

Williams, circa 1978

  • Missing Since 12/07/1978
  • Missing From Scranton, Pennsylvania
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Female
  • Race White
  • Age 22 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'2, 95 pounds
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description A leotard top, a beige tweed jacket and blue jeans.
  • Associated Vehicle(s) Red 1977 Datsun 200 SX with white racing stripes (accounted for)
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian female. Blonde hair, blue eyes.

Details of Disappearance

Williams was last seen on December 7, 1978. She left her residence in the 500 block of east Gibson Street in Scranton, Pennsylvania that day, driving her red 1977 Datsun 200 SX with white racing stripes, to go to an exercise class at her dance school. She left the dance school, which was located on Route 6 in Chinchilla, Pennsylvania, at 10:00 p.m. She never arrived home and has never been heard from again.

On December 16, 1978, nine days after Williams vanished, her car was found parked at Lafayette Street and north Everett Avenue. It was unlocked and inside was her paycheck and her purse with its contents undisturbed. There was no sign of her at the scene.

Frank Osellanie is considered a possible suspect in Williams's case. He was convicted of kidnapping, raping and murdering a nine-year-old Scranton girl in 1990 and sent to prison for the rest of his life. He is considered a person of interest in several other cases, including the 1986 disappearance of Michelle "Jolene" Lakey.

Osellanie said he did not know Williams. He maintained his innocence in all the cases and investigators are not sure whether he was involved. He died in prison in 2020.

Williams's case remains unsolved. She was declared legally dead in 1991.

Investigating Agency

  • Pennsylvania State Police
  • Troop R
  • 570-963-3156

Updated 4 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated December 7, 2022; details of disappearance updated.