Woman missing for over 30 years found alive in Puerto Rico nursing home


A Pennsylvania woman who disappeared more than 30 years ago and whom her family believed to be dead was recently found alive in a Puerto Rico nursing home, her family and police said at a news conference Thursday.

Patricia Kopta, 83, was last seen in Pittsburgh in the summer of 1992, according to a missing person leaflet published by the Pennsylvania Emergency Response Center.

Her husband, Bob Kopta, reported her missing a few months later in the fall. At the time, he informed authorities that it was not uncommon for his wife to “retreat from view for short periods,” according to the flyer.

“I come home one night and she’s gone, and nobody knew where she was,” Kopta said during the press conference with Ross Township police.

Police said they first learned of the missing woman’s discovery when an International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) officer and a social worker from Puerto Rico contacted them last year saying that ‘they thought Patricia was living in an adult care home in Porto. Rico.

“What they told us was that she was given to them in 1999, when she was found in need on the streets of Puerto Rico,” Ross Township Deputy Chief Brian said. Kohlhepp.

INTERPOL and the social worker said Patricia was found wandering the streets and over the years had “refused to talk about her private life or where she was from”, Kohlhepp said.

In her old age, Patricia began to reveal nuggets that would eventually prompt those around her to contact Ross police, Kohlhepp said.

When she was in Pittsburgh, Patricia was a “well-known street preacher,” according to the missing person’s flyer. She approached strangers, telling them she had visions of the Virgin Mary and that the world was coming to an end, the flyer said.

Police said her disappearance was not overtly suspicious as they “knew she had a history of mental health and had told other family members that she was leaving, that she feared ‘to be placed in a care facility here,” Kohlhepp said. Kohlhepp said police knew she likely left of her own free will.

Her husband said his wife had talked about wanting to go to Puerto Rico to live in a tropical environment.

“I even advertised in the newspaper in Puerto Rico looking for him,” Kopta said at the press conference, adding that he had spent a lot of money over the years looking for him.

Patricia and Bob were married for 20 years before his disappearance, Kohlhepp told CNN. He added that Patricia had no known family or connections in Puerto Rico.

Police determined the woman was in fact Patricia through a nine-month process in which they compared DNA samples provided by her sister, Gloria Smith, and her nephew.

“We really thought she was dead all these years,” Smith said at the press conference.

Even before DNA testing was completed, the family knew it was Patricia as soon as they saw her photo, Kohlhepp said.

Smith said she called the Puerto Rico Adult Care Home several times, but couldn’t hold a conversation with her sister because she had dementia.

“We didn’t expect it. It was a very big shock to see – to know that she is still alive,” her sister said. “You know, we’re so happy and I hope I can come down to see her.”

CNN was unable to contact the woman’s family directly.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GreenLeaf Tw2sl