Patricia Marie Gifford
Gifford, approximately 1982; Gifford on the night of her disappearance; Dennis Sochor on the night of Gifford's disappearance
Date reported missing : 01/01/1982
Missing location (approx) :
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Missing classification : Endangered Missing
Gender : Female
Age at the time of disappearance: 18 years old
Height / Weight : 5'4, 130 pounds
Description, clothing, jewerly and more : An off-white sweater with multicolored threads, blue jeans, three gold chains with heart- and apple-shaped charms, an opal and diamond ring, and possibly a "Happy New Year" crown. A photo of Gibson on the night of her disappearance is posted with this case summary.
Distinguishing characteristics, birthmarks, tattoos
: Caucasian female. Blonde hair. Gifford's nickname is Patty.
Information on the case from local sources, may or may not be correct : Gifford was last seen at the Banana Boat lounge on State Road 84 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on January 1, 1982. She had gone there with a female friend to celebrate the holiday. While at the lounge, she met Dennis Michael Sochor and his brother Gary; they had never met before. According to witnesses, Dennis kept trying, unsuccessfully, to buy Gifford drinks for most of the night.
At 2:00 a.m., Gifford's friend got sick and was helped to her car by Gifford and the Sochor brothers. She fell asleep there, and when she awakened at 5:30 a.m., Gifford was gone and she has never been heard from again. She was last seen when she paid her bar bill at 1:30 a.m.
Several people at the Banana Boat had taken photographs of the New Year's revelers that night, and some of the photos showed both Gifford and the Sochor brothers. Authorities were able to identify them using the photos. Dennis had a history of Gender : crimes; in 1980, he abducted a nineteen-year-old woman and raped her repeatedly after she refused his Gender : ual advances. He was sentenced to a year in prison, but served only five months.
On January 5, four days after Gifford's disappearance and shortly after his photograph was shown on a television news broadcast, Dennis left South Florida and caught a flight to Michigan.
At first, Gary claimed he and his brother had parted ways at 2:00 a.m. and he had no idea where Gifford was. He later changed his story and told police that he'd seen Dennis rape and kill Gifford after she refused his Gender : ual advances. He stated Gifford agreed to go out to breakfast with them, and on the way, Dennis stopped at a secluded spot and raped and strangled Gifford. Gary said he had wanted to help her but he was too frightened of his brother because "he had the devil in his eyes." He later recanted this story.
The 1981 Datsun pickup truck Dennis was driving on the night of Gifford's disappearance, which had been issued to him by his employer, was found in Tampa, Florida on January 22. The interior was bloodstained.
There was no sign of Dennis, however, and he was not located until May 1986, when he was arrested in Georgia for driving under the influence. He was questioned about Gifford's disappearance and confessed to raping a woman in Michigan in 1979, and to having raped and strangled her. He was charged with murder and extradited to Florida.
He was convicted of Gifford's kidnapping, rape and murder in 1987 and sentenced to death, although his defense tried to argue that Gifford had never been held against her will and her murder was not premeditated. He remains on Florida's death row, awaiting execution.
Gifford's body has never been found; Dennis stated he could not remember where he had left it.
Other information and links : ncy
Broward County Sheriff's Office
September 2021 updates and sources
A missing person is a person who has disappeared and whose status as alive or dead cannot be confirmed as their location and condition are not known. A person may go missing through a voluntary disappearance, or else due to an accident, crime, death in a location where they cannot be found (such as at sea), or many other reasons. In most parts of the world, a missing person will usually be found quickly. While criminal abductions are some of the most widely reported missing person cases, these account for only 2–5% of missing children in Europe.
By contrast, some missing person cases remain unresolved for many years. Laws related to these cases are often complex since, in many jurisdictions, relatives and third parties may not deal with a person's assets until their death is considered proven by law and a formal death certificate issued. The situation, uncertainties, and lack of closure or a funeral resulting when a person goes missing may be extremely painful with long-lasting effects on family and friends.
Several organizations seek to connect, share best practices, and disseminate information and imAge at the time of disappearance: s of missing children to improve the effectiveness of missing children investigations, including the International Commission on Missing Persons, the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC), as well as national organizations, including the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in the US, Missing People in the UK, Child Focus in Belgium, and The Smile of the Child in Greece.
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel
The Miami Herald
The Tampa Tribune
The Palm Beach Post
October 12, 2004. July 22, 2020; .
Interactive Missing Person Search Map