Joanna Kay Otto
Otto, approximate photo date 1992 James Gibson, approximate photo date 2010
Missing since: 11/20/1992
Type of missing case: Endangered Missing
Date of Birth: 08/03/1973 (46)
Age at time of disappearance: 19 years old
Height / Weight: 5'7, 140 pounds
Description, clothing, tattoos, other identifying markings: A white sweater, blue shorts with lace trim, a silver necklace and gold earrings.
Other characteristics: Caucasian female. Brown hair, brown eyes. Otto's nickname is Jo.
Details at time 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 with this case summary. He was later sentenced to 35 years in prison 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, and in July 2019 he was paroled from prison.
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.
Other case information
Agency in charge: Escambia County Sheriff's Office
Other 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
The Pensacola News Journal
Psychic detective links:
Revised: October 12, 2004. Last updated July 16, 2019 details of disappearance updated.