Patricia Gay Toliver

Patricia, circa 1978; James Carlin Toliver

  • Missing Since 08/12/1978
  • Missing From Modesto, California
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Female
  • Race White
  • Date of Birth 06/14/1935 (86)
  • Age 43 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'5, 120 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian female. Brown hair, brown eyes. Patricia's nickname is Patty. Her maiden name is Hogue.

Details of Disappearance

Patricia lived in Modesto, California at the time of her 1978 disappearance. Her relatives last saw her in late June, when she attended a family reunion in South Dakota. While she was there, she said her husband, James Carlin Toliver, threatened to kill her or her mother if she attended the reunion. She disappeared from her Modesto home on August 12 and has never been heard from again. She left her car and clothes behind and never picked up her last paycheck at her job, but James said she'd taken a significant sum of money from their joint savings account.

James, a forklift operator and cannery worker from Ceres, California, joined the singles group Parents Without Partners and dated several women following Patty's disappearance, using the alias "Jim Joy." He was known as a heavy gambler. A photo of him is posted with this case summary.

On October 8, 1980, James's body was found at the door of his pickup truck on a remote dirt road in Hope Valley, near Lake Tahoe in California. He had died of a heart attack. He was carrying a .38 caliber pistol and a bloodstained pillowcase containing $98,000, all of it in hundred-dollar bills. Nearly a mile away was the body of Florence Evelyn Richina, a 49-year-old former special education teacher; she'd been shot with a .38 caliber pistol. James's footprints led from the crime scene to his truck.

Richina had sold some land and withdrawn $98,000 from her bank account, and that same amount of cash was in the pillowcase with James's body. Some of Richina's personal belongings and jewelry were found hidden in James's home. There were reports that they were going to get married, but authorities could find no marriage license or other evidence to support the stories.

James is a suspected serial killer; authorities believe he killed Richina and may have been involved in the disappearances of his wife and other women: including Hester Lee Chandler, who disappeared in 1974, Jacqueline Cooper, who disappeared in 1976, and Mary Watkins, who was last seen in 1979.

Photos of Chandler are unavailable. Her date of birth is July 21, 1914, making her sixty years old when she disappeared from Modesto on September 12, 1974, just after she withdrew nearly $9,000 from her bank account. She's described as a Caucasian female, 5'7 tall and 130 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.

There has been no indication of Patricia's whereabouts since 1978. Foul play is suspected in her case, as well as the disappearances of Chandler, Cooper and Watkins.

Investigating Agency

  • Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department 209-525-7114

Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004. Last updated May 14, 2021; casefile added.