Carla Jo Otto
13 Years Old

November 9, 1962 to June 1, 1976

Carla Jo Otto from Saginaw, Michigan was a bright teen who excelled at many things. She was very philosophical and was a challenge to me along with her many teachers. She learned to talk, read and memorize at an early age. Carla was a tall, willowy teen with golden brown eyes and light, golden brown hair. Daily grooming was an absolute “must” in Carla’s life and she expected others to do like-wise.

Throughout her school years, Carla was a leader in various things, excelled at most classroom subjects, played clarinet, first chair in band in the seventh grade and was involved in church and community activities. Many of Carla’s teachers often commented that she was very bright and asked if I had plans for her advanced education. I did not learn until after her death that Carla’s IQ was 160. In the eighth grade, she was at 11th, 12th grade and early college course work levels, given to her by her teachers to keep her challenged.

Carla was a responsible person. She was loving and caring to me and to her younger sister. She had a talent for writing poems, “taking charge” reading multiple and varied books, followed by a discussion with me about what she had read.

Carla’s greatest asset was her love for God, her spiritual beliefs and a mission to include as many as possible to believe in God.

Carla loved her dog Chico. From his early days of six weeks old to her death, they were inseparable.


Both of my daughters were very good friends of the neighbor girl who lived next door. The girl Maria was a year younger than Carla and two years older than Carmen. She spent a lot of time with my daughters “sleeping over” and was involved in may of their activities.

Both of Maria’s parents were full-time ministers and were gone a lot. Maria had a brother Brad who was about seven years older than Maria. He had recently returned from six months of National Guard Training. Brad and his parents had become involved in many family disagreements. He decided he wanted to punish his parents by killing Maria and my daughters. He said in his confession to the police, my daughters’ lifestyle was something he was not: school, church and community activities and both had multiple musical talents of voice, piano, organ and clarinet.

Plans were made at 5PM at Maria’s house in Brad’s presence that Maria would be “sleeping over.” On May 31st, I sent her home to her house at about 7:20PM because both of my daughters had to sing and play that week for school and church programs.

I worked full-time at a local hospital as a Clinical Nurse Educator/Supervisor. While I was at work, Brad came to the house in the pretense of asking to use the phone. Carla let him into the house. Upon entering, Brad pulled the choke-chain of our German Shepherd/Lab dog Chico and made him go outside. He then proceeded to go on a rampage and stabbed both my daughters to death, then set a small fire to cover-up the crime.

Brad was convicted of First-Degree Murder and is serving a Life term in a Michigan prison.

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