Missing Pennsylvania woman found living in Puerto Rico 30 years later

Patricia Kopta, an 82-year-old woman, is currently receiving treatment for dementia at an adult home care facility, located approximately 2,700 kilometers (or 1,700 miles) away from her home. However, it has been proven that she is an exception to the common occurrence of people mysteriously disappearing and never being found alive after being missing for several decades.

Bob Kopta, the man whom she was married to for two decades, expressed during a press briefing on Thursday, “The amount of challenges we have encountered is truly unimaginable. It brings me great solace to be aware that she is still alive.”

According to the city’s Post-Gazette newspaper, Patricia Kopta was a devoted follower of the Roman Catholic faith who frequently participated in Sunday worship, traveled to different workplaces including one where she operated an elevator, and previously resided in Ross Township, a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Patricia warned herself of the imminent nuclear Armageddon, as her mother, God’s self-proclaimed prophet, began exhibiting increasingly bizarre behavior, marked by irrational rants and peculiar acts of piety.

As per the Post-Gazette, Bob Kopta remembered that following her unemployment, she started visiting the streets downtown, cautioning baseball game attendees and concert attendees to return home as the world was on the brink of destruction.

She was arrested again, describing doctors with another time, according to the Post-Gazette, as “the grandeur of delusions.” People encountered her, inspired by her erratic walk and slight physique, who stole her engagement and wedding rings and mugged her. She was nicknamed “Sparrow” by the group.

Bob Kopta, along with the local authorities, submitted a report about a person who was missing, only to discover that Patricia Kopta had departed, and then returned to their residence in Ross Township during the year 1992.

Although there was no sign of it for years, someone was pursuing her by echoing claims she had made in a letter her husband once sent, which she was recounting, showing how someone made multiple claims in earlier times.

Roddy Dennis, a columnist for the Post-Gazette, later wrote about how even those in downtown Pittsburgh hadn’t seen the Sparrow for a long time. He noted that they mostly passed it by.

In their desperate attempt to find her, investigators spoke with a psychic that Patricia Kopta had suggested, who pointed out that her body was found near water and she had died.

Eventually, Bob Kopta acquired a legal declaration stating that his spouse was deemed deceased.

In June 1999, Patricia Kopta was admitted to an adult care facility in Puerto Rico, seeking assistance. Subsequently, authorities discovered that Patricia Kopta had concealed a significant portion of her personal history, yet she had managed to mislead her caregivers into believing that she arrived on the island via a European cruise liner.

The previous year, Brian Kohlhepp, the deputy police chief of Ross Township, received a call from an Interpol agent, who is a member of the international law enforcement agency, along with a social worker from Puerto Rico. This initiated a series of events that gradually unfolded her life story, which she shared with the staff at the home.

According to the Post-Gazette, Patricia Kopta had roamed around the Puerto Rican municipalities of Naranjito, Corozal, and Toa Alta prior to the social worker and Interpol agent starting to suspect her true identity. Kohlhepp issued a statement on Thursday outlining the details.

After contacting Patricia Kopta’s family, Kohlhepp’s department proceeded to send DNA kits to Puerto Rican authorities for them to collect her genetic material. Subsequently, the obtained sample was compared to DNA samples provided by Patricia Kopta’s sister and nephew.

Patricia Kopta, the woman who had checked into adult home care in 1999, was confirmed by investigators to have also been involved in a dental records process at the end of a nine-month-long month. She arrived in Puerto Rico on a cruise ship, claiming to have come from Europe.

“Patricia Kopta [is] alive and thriving despite her advanced age and condition,” Kohlhepp stated during the news conference held on Thursday.

Bob Kopta and Gloria Smith, Kopta’s sister, expressed their desire to bring her back to Pennsylvania and reunite their family during their conversation with reporters on Thursday. They also mentioned that Bob Kopta has remained single and never entered into another marriage.

According to the Post-Gazette, she informed the staff at the care home that she would rather stay in Puerto Rico. She is facing challenges with both her mental and physical well-being, and it is uncertain whether Kopta will ever come back to Pennsylvania. Nevertheless.

Smith reportedly expressed his desire to visit her, stating, “It was a tremendous surprise to learn that she is still living. For years, we believed she had passed away. Fortunately, Patty is receiving excellent care, and we are incredibly grateful for her well-being.”