Mystery Solved: Woman Who Disappeared In 1992 Found Alive In Puerto Rico
Patricia Kopta had always told her husband she dreamed of living in a tropical climate. Knowing of his wife’s mental health problems, Bob Kopta never thought that Patricia would, in fact, end up living in Puerto Rico.
Patricia disappeared in Pittsburgh in the summer of 1992 when she was 59. Her husband reported her missing a few months later. Kopta told authorities that while it was not uncommon for his wife to disappear from sight for short periods of time, this time was different.
“I come home one night, and she’s gone. Nobody knew where she was,” Kopta said at the news conference with Ross Township Police.
After years of searching for his wife, Kopta and his family concluded that Patricia had passed away.
But life would surprise them 30 years later.
Puerto Rico is the scene of an amazing turn of events
It took many decades for the Kopta family to regain hope of finding Patricia.
The disappeared woman ended up, as she once wanted, in the Caribbean.
Last year, an agent from the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) and a social worker from Puerto Rico contacted Bob and the Kopta family, assuring them they believed Patricia was living in an adult care home in Puerto Rico.
“They reported she came into their care in 1999, when [they found her] in need in the streets of Puerto Rico,” Ross Township Deputy Chief Brian Kohlhepp said.
Patricia was reportedly found wandering the streets of the island. The woman had refused to talk about her private life or past for years.
Patricia would walk the streets of Puerto Rico, preaching as she used to do in Pittsburgh. She would approach strangers and tell them that she had visions of the Virgin Mary and that the world was ending.
Although the woman had a history of mental health, her family believes her disappearance had to do with her fear of ending up in a care center.
In the end, Patricia ended up living her fear, but in the tropical climate, she always wanted.
A longed-for family reunion
Although Patricia refused to talk about her past for many years, at her advanced age, she began to reveal some details. This allowed those around her to get in touch with her family.
Patricia and Bob were married for 20 years before she disappeared, Kohlhepp told CNN. He added that Patricia had no known family or contacts in Puerto Rico.
A DNA test tied things together, even though the family recognized Patricia in a photo from last year.
“We really thought she was dead all those years,” her sister, Gloria Smith, said at a news conference.
“We didn’t expect it. It was a big shock to see — to know that she’s still alive,” Smith said. “We’re so happy, and I hope I can get down to see her.”