Saturday, July 18, 2009

Patricia "Pat" Viola: Missing, Featured on AMW

Into Thin Air (from America's Most Wanted)

We...were just a normal family. The pool and the deck, music playing. You think you have it all, and then it is gone.

On the morning of February 13, 2001, Jim says Pat seemed a little agitated. His sister was staying with them, and Pat had been dreading a confrontation about smoking in the house. The discussion didn't go well, but Pat continued her day by going to her son's elementary school, E. Roy Bixby, where she volunteered as a librarian. Her co-workers said she seemed sullen when she first got there, but by the end of her shift seemed much more relaxed. At 11:35 a.m., Pat walked one block back home, talked to her mother on the phone at around noon, and then set the house alarm at 1:11 p.m., and left. She was wearing a green or gray long sleeved sports shirt, jeans, white athletic shoes, and a black cloth winter jacket. This is the last anyone has seen or heard from her.

While this seems like an ordinary morning, police say there are a few things that don't add up. When Patricia set the alarm and left the house, her personal items - purse, wallet, keys, ID, medication - were all left inside. To make matters worse, Pat suffers from epilepsy and is prone to have seizures if not on her medication. The door Pat left automatically locks when closed, and Jim fears she may have accidentally locked herself outside. When she locked her keys in the car or house before, however, she had always called Jim to ask for his assistance.

Earlier that year, Pat's doctor had taken away her license due to an epileptic seizure. She was looking forward to getting her license back before the winter holidays, and was very disappointed when her doctor decided to hold the suspension for another three months. Luckily, Pat's town of Bogota is very small, so it was easy for her to travel around on foot.

Police don't know what happened to Pat that day, but found no signs of a struggle. Search dogs were brought into the house and property, the vehicles were checked, as was the surrounding neighborhood. Roadblocks were put up and cars in all directions in and out of Bogota stopped. The airports, bus, and train stations were all investigated, but no one with Pat's description was seen. It was as if she just disappeared.

Det. James Sepp of the Bogota Police Department regrets that he can't give Pat's distraught husband and family some type of lead. "I would like something to tell him. I wish I had the answer, but there is nothing pointing me in either direction, good or bad."
The 'What-If' Game
For Jim and his family, it is the not knowing that is the hardest. They don't know if Pat had a seizure and is in a hospital somewhere with amnesia, or if someone harmed her. She hasn't been matched with any case in a national missing person or crime registry, and no one seems to recognize her picture. Det. Sepp runs a credit check every six months, but her credit and social security number remain unused.

Jim and the children have continued to live their lives, but each day they awake with the hope that they'll have news of Pat.

We have two children, Christine, now 18, and Michael, now 15. Time is moving forward, and the children are growing up without their mom. We did everything together as a family and never saw this coming. We do not even know what THIS is.

We have no idea what happened to my wife...We only need one person, the right person, to recognize my Patricia's face and make the call to help us. I need her; our children need her, and we all love her so much.

Patricia's Law


"Patricia's Law" - model Missing Persons Legislation, signed into NJ law on Jan. 13, 2008, and the majority of its language were born almost three years ago in April 2005 as Model Legislation at the first National Strategy Meeting on identifying the Missing. At this conference, the National Criminal Justice Reference Service brought together Federal, State and Local Law Enforcement, medical examiners and coroners, victim's advocates, forensic scientists, key policymakers and families who have lived through this tragic experience to develop the baseline Missing Persons' Model Legislation. The Model was now ready for the next step., a not for profit Missing Persons organization, facilitated the next step and called for volunteers in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia to retain a Sponsor to support the Model Missing Persons' Legislation at the state level. Campaign for the Missing 2006, a grassroots effort, was born and volunteers came forward from many states to take the Model Legislation, tailor it for their respective state, retain a Sponsor and forge it into law. Patricia's husband, Jim Viola, took on New Jersey and State Senator Loretta Weinberg (District 37) and her staff immediately embraced the new proposed Legislation, making NJ the first state to obtain sponsorship and making it a reason for all of us to be proud. New Jersey is on it's way to passing some much needed new Missing Person Legislation as Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri-Huttle and Assemblyman Gordon Johnson also sponsored an identical proposed bill in the Assembly.
If you know ANYTHING about Pat's disappearance, or where she is, we beg you to call Detective Dan Creange or Sgt. James Sepp of the Bogota Police Department at
(201) 487- 2400 or Detective Richard Fonde of the Bergen County Sherrif's Department of Missing Persons Bureau at (201) 646-2222.

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Anonymous said...

I am praying for her and her family loosing a love one is devastating but never finding them not knowing what happened is a nightmare that u can't wake up from nobody should have to experience that I hope that one day soon peace can come to her husband Jim and there family god be with you

Anonymous said...


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