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Is it valid for StackOverflow data to have an answer that does not have an owner? For example if you hit the following API url http://api.stackoverflow.com/1.1/answers/18, it does not bring back an owner. If I look at the quarterly data dump, the OwnerUserId field is null. However if I go to the website and hit the question page (http://stackoverflow.com/questions/17/binary-data-in-mysql) I see a user (PHPGuy) who answered the question, but does not have a hyperlink for that user. Would this be a user who no longer is part of StackOverflow or does it mean something else?

Thanks in advance

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Yes, the user is no longer an active member of Stack Overflow. You can find more information on this page in the API docs:

This affects "shallow user" fields most frequently.
For example, this question's owner has been deleted (a very rare occurrence). An API query for that question returns no user accordingly.

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