83-year-old Pennsylvania woman missing for three decades and thought to be dead found alive in Puerto Rico
A Pennsylvanian woman named Patricia Kopta, who disappeared over 30 years ago and was believed to be dead by her family was recently found living in a nursing home in Puerto Rico.
According to the missing person flier posted by the Pennsylvania Emergency Response Center, the 83-year-old woman was last seen in 1992 in Pittsburgh, CNN reported.
During a news conference, her husband Bob Kopta said he reported his wife missing months later in the fall as it was quite regular for his wife to "drop out of sight for short periods."
Her family confirmed that they knew that Patricia had been suffering from a mental health condition called "dementia.'
In Pittsburg, she was a well-known street preacher, who used to approach strangers, telling them she had visions of the Virgin Mary and that the world was ending.
She even made several statements to her family saying that she was leaving, and was concerned that she was going to be placed in a care facility in Puerto Rico.
Even her husband recalled how Patricia always talked about going to Puerto Rico to live in a tropical environment.
Police officials said that they were first informed about Patricia when an agent from the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) and a social worker contacted them last year, saying that they saw her living in an adult care home.
Ross Township Deputy Brian Kohlhepp said, "what they reported to us was that she came into care in 1999, when she was found in need in the streets of Puerto Rico." He added that Patricia refused to discuss her private life or where she came from.
Kohlhepp told CNN that Patricia had no family or connections in Puerto Rico.
The police added that it identified the woman as Patricia, through a nine-month-long process, in which they tried matching her DNA samples to her sister Gloria Smith and her nephew.
Smith said, "we really thought she was dead all those years." She added that she called the adult care home several times but couldn't converse because of her sister's mental health condition.
"We didn’t expect it. It was a very big shock to see – to know that she’s still alive," Smith added. "You know, we’re so happy and I hope I can get down to see her."