MISSING: Joey Lynn Offutt – The most recent episode of the Crime Junkie Podcast, titled “MISSING: Joey Lynn Offutt,” delves into the case of Joey Lynn Offutt, a 33-year-old woman who disappeared and is presumed dead. She was last seen in the early morning hours of July 7, 2007, near her residence in Sykesville, Pennsylvania. Law enforcement and her family have continued their search efforts, but her whereabouts remain unknown even after more than 15 years. If you’re curious, here is some additional information we have gathered about what happened on July 7, 2007.
Joey Lynn Offutt Missing Story: Is She Dead?
Joey Lynn Offutt, a 33-year-old mother of three from Sykesville, Pennsylvania, went missing in early July 2007. Sykesville is a small and tranquil community with fewer than 1,500 inhabitants located about 90 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. Joey had briefly studied journalism at Shepherd University but withdrew due to poor grades.
At the time of her disappearance, Joey had recently given birth to her third child, Alexis Alfred Brolin III. However, she struggled to maintain stable employment and relationships, often moving between Texas and Virginia. Joey had various developmental challenges and severe speech impairment. Her family reported that one psychologist assessed her mental capacity as similar to that of a 14-year-old.
Joey Hallett, described by her daughter Joey, was deeply religious, trusting, and somewhat naive, significantly impacting Joey’s life. Joey had two daughters, aged nine and two. Sherry Hallett recalled Joey being shy and anxious in social settings during her early childhood years. After experiencing the separation of both parents when she was three, Joey developed a strong longing to have her own family one day.
Joey had an emotionally turbulent relationship with the father of her first child, which ultimately ended. Shortly after that, she met Alexis “Lex” Brolin Jr., who became their father and her new partner. They had two more children together. According to Sherry, Joey appeared content and deeply loved her children. However, Joey and Lex never lived together; instead, she raised them all in a house purchased by her mother while Lex resided in Clearfield.
On July 12, 2007, around 4 am, a fire broke out in Joey’s neighbour’s apartment, causing shockwaves through the neighborhood. Witnesses reported hearing an explosive sound before witnessing the devastating aftermath. By the time firefighters arrived, a significant portion of the building had already been destroyed. Rescuers discovered the charred remains of an infant boy in the bathtub, and Joey’s wallet and identification were found among the ashes. However, Joey herself could not be located within the burning building.
The coroner’s office could not ascertain the cause of the baby’s death. The autopsy report indicated that the baby was placed in the bathtub after already passing away. Arson investigators examined the crime scene and determined that the fire had been intentionally set using an accelerant. Police officers found a gas can and decomposed raw hamburger meat on the kitchen counter covered with maggots. Tests conducted by detectives suggested that the food had been left out since July 3-5.
Detectives had several theories about what might have happened to Joey. Some speculated that she may have killed her baby and set the house on fire before fleeing, while others suspected kidnapping or murder as possible scenarios. Trooper Bruce A. Morris of the State Police expressed the sentiment that Joey seemed to have vanished into thin air, saying it “almost seems as if she has disappeared off the face of the planet.” Additionally, her red 1994 Saturn coupe with Virginia license plates and a damaged hood was reported stolen.
On July 16, authorities located Joey’s missing vehicle, but she was not found with it. The car was found parked outside a building in State College, approximately 70 miles from Sykesville. Due to the secure manner in which it was parked, Joey’s relatives suspected that she may not have driven it there herself. Lex, who had previously lived in the same building, claimed no knowledge of why or how the car ended up there.
Lex claims that the last time he saw Joey was at her residence, where they argued over bathing their child in an unclean sink. Since then, he tried multiple times to contact her but failed. The last reported sighting of Joey alive was on July 5 in Sykesville when a neighbour saw her walking along State Route 119. Lex reported Joey missing on July 12 when the family could not locate her. Neighbours reported seeing her car in her driveway at 3 am before the fire broke out and reported seeing it an hour before the fire on July 12. Neighbours claimed to see her car in her driveway at 3 am on July 5, while Lex reported her missing after the family could not locate her.
Joey has been missing since July 2008, and her family and law enforcement have tirelessly searched for her. One promising lead included an alleged sighting of her in Decatur, Alabama, on November 15, 2008, which prompted America’s Most Wanted to get involved. However, their efforts were in vain, and Joey remains unknown to all of them.
Joey’s mother reported discovering her daughter communicating online with an unknown individual regarding participating in pornographic videos. This discovery led to a heated argument, resulting in Joey’s arrest and counselling requirements to regain custody of her children. Following Joey’s disappearance, investigators uncovered several posts made by Joey in 2005 on an online forum dedicated to single mothers.
In her social media posts, Joey expressed a desire to obtain a protection order against Lex, whom she accused of being both an addict and a felon. Due to Lex’s online behavior and other factors, she became the primary suspect at one point. Joey’s family maintains that she fully cooperated with the investigation at all times. Legally, she was declared deceased on June 27, 2016. However, her family continues their quest for answers regarding her disappearance and the circumstances surrounding her death.