Details of Disappearance
Patricia was last seen in Lewiston, Idaho late in the evening on September 2, 1976. She got into an argument with her husband, Ralph Otto, and left the house angrily. She never returned. She left behind all her belongings, including her car and her wedding rings, which she normally didn't remove. The rings were found in Ralph's coat pocket, but they have since been lost.
The Ottos' marriage was difficult and Patricia had left on her own before, taking the children with her. She filed for divorce in the spring of 1976, but later reconciled with her husband. They were fighting at the time of her disappearance because he believed she was unfaithful to him. After her disappearance, Ralph told their two young daughters that their mother had abandoned them.
Authorities theorize Patricia was murdered, and Ralph is the prime suspect in her disappearance. One of the couple's daughters said he was an alcoholic who "incriminating statements about himself" in relation to his wife's case. Another daughter, then three years old, said she saw her father assault her mother on the night Patricia disappeared, and that the last time she saw her mother, her father had his hands around her neck.
Less than a year after she vanished, he was convicted of hiring a contract killer to murder the lead investigator in Patricia's disappearance. The verdict was overturned on a technicality in 1981, however. Ralph died of a heart attack a few years later, while in jail on an unrelated charge.
Patricia and Ralph's daughters who were raised by their paternal aunt and uncle after their father's death. One of the daughters is now deceased, but the other is still alive and still looking for answers in her mother's case. Her case remains unsolved and foul play is suspected.