Woman who went missing in 1992 and presumed dead has been found alive three decades later
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A Pennsylvania woman who had been declared dead has been found three decades later living hundreds of miles away.
Bob Kopta first became concerned about the whereabouts of his wife Patricia when he came back to their home in Pennsylvania one night in 1992 to find she wasn't there.
Patricia, who was 52 when she went missing, worked as a Pittsburgh street preacher, but Bob said 'nobody' knew where she'd gone so decided to report her missing to the police.
Bob knew his wife had some mental health issues and had talked about wanting to go to Puerto Rico where it was warm, so he put notices in the newspaper in Puerto Rico in a bid to try and track down his wife.
But for 31 years, the search proved unsuccessful and sat unsolved at the Ross Township police department. Bob had no idea that his wife was right where he thought she might be.
On 30 June 1999, Patricia, now in Puerto Rico, was found on the streets and in need of care.
She refused to share any details of her personal life with anyone, but started to open up years later as she suffered with dementia.
Patricia began to share information which allowed staff at an adult care home to link her to Ross Township, from where she'd disappeared.
Over the course of nine months, authorities got involved in the case and DNA tests were conducted to try and confirm the woman's identity.
Ross Township Police Deputy Chief Brian Kohlhepp explained: "We were contacted by an agent from Interpol as well as a social worker from Puerto Rico who believed they had her in an adult care home in Puerto Rico."
The DNA tests confirmed the woman was Patricia Kopta; news that stunned her family who thought she was dead.
Patricia's sister Gloria Smith said: “Shock. I didn’t believe it. It was a total shock."
Smith admitted her sister's disappearance was 'hard' on all the family, and that her mother, their other sister and herself 'worried about [Patricia] constantly'.
“We really thought she was dead all those years," Smith added. "We didn’t expect it and it was a very big shock to find out she was alive, and we are so happy, and I hope I can get down to see her."
After going on for 31 years, Bob said his wife's disappearance was 'bad' and cost him 'a lot of money', but now the family has reconnected and the case is officially closed.