Wife who vanished and was declared dead is FOUND 31 years later

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A woman who vanished from her home in North Hills, Pennsylvania, in the U.S. has been found 31 years later in Puerto Rico.

STORY OF HER DISAPPEARANCE

When Patricia Kopta vanished without a trace on June 20, 1992, her husband Bob didn’t think much of it because his wife had been a free spirit and acted odd.

Patricia, a well-known street preacher in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, had claimed to see ‘visions’ of the Virgin Mary and routinely warned complete strangers that the world was about to end in a nuclear Armageddon. 

The devout Roman Catholic disappeared from her home in North Hills on June 20, 1992. Bob reported her missing on November 27, 1992. 

He told police it was not uncommon for Patricia – whose nickname was ‘The Sparrow’ due to her short stature and unstable walk – to ‘drop out of sight’ for periods of time. 

Police said the disappearance wasn’t overtly suspicious and that her husband was not a suspect. 

SHE WAS DECLARED MISSING

In the weeks which followed, Patricia was classed as a critical missing person by the authorities, with an urgent search launched. 

One poster released by the Pennsylvania Emergency Response Centre had stated: ‘Her family believes she took a flight to Puerto Rico after her disappearance and spent a week or two there before returning to Pittsburgh.

‘She has not been seen or heard from since.’

WHAT HER SISTER THINK

Patricia, who was 52 at the time of her disappearance, had enjoyed holidays in Puerto Rico before she got married, her sister Gloria had told detectives.

She thought her sister could have left to start a new life. 

BOB WAS WORRIED

But the complete radio silence worried Patricia’s husband Bob.

The former electrician doubted Patricia was safe, and instead feared she had been hurt, abducted or was ‘laying in a ditch somewhere.’

He paid a psychic to try find answers and placed adverts in Puerto Rican newspapers in a bid to locate the Sparrow.

However, trails ran cold for both the police and Patricia’s family who, seven years after she vanished, obtained a legal declaration which considered her dead. 

‘I come home one night, and she’s just gone,’ Bob, who didn’t remarry, would later say. 

‘I went through a lot. Every time they’d find a body somewhere [I wondered], ‘’Is it Patricia? Is it Patricia?’”

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HOW SHE WAS FOUND

In 2023, 31 years after she vanished, it emerged that Patricia, now 83, was very much alive and in a nursing home 1,700 miles away in Puerto Rico.

She had been taken in as a ‘person in need’ in June 1999 after being found wandering aimlessly nearby. 

Patricia had kept tight-lipped about her circumstances.

SHE NOW SUFFERS FROM DEMENTIA

It was only after she started suffering from dementia that she began to reveal details about her life.

A social worker followed the little details she revealed and discovered she was from Pennsylvania, so they contacted the authorities. 

DNA samples would later confirm she was the missing woman Patricia Kopta.

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Ola Alabi
Ola Moses is a certified writer, He writes technically and creatively. He is the CEO of WORDSWORTH, a house where writing is made easier for all. He is a content creator at EsB TV, since 2019. He is a young man that showcases professionalism in all that he does, he was announced as Child and Green Foundation Person of the Year 2018, one of his many lists of honours.

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