An elderly care facility in Puerto Rico has discovered the whereabouts of a Pennsylvania woman who disappeared more than three decades ago in a case that perplexed investigators, who later declared her legally deceased. Patricia Kopta wandered through northern Puerto Rico for some time after leaving her husband and siblings behind, according to information shared this week at a news conference in Ross Township, where she formerly resided, before being transported as a “person in need” to the adult care facility in 1999.
Kopta, who was once renowned for preaching on the streets of her hometown, hid her past while living in Puerto Rico. According to Ross Township Deputy Police Chief Brian Kohlhepp, as her dementia worsened, she disclosed information. Last year, a social worker at the facility knew enough about the now-83-year-old woman to notify the appropriate parties back home.
Kohlhepp claims that a genetic test has confirmed her identity. Friday’s news conference and phone interviews with The Associated Press revealed details about Kopta’s life. Bob Kopta, her husband, and Gloria Smith, her 78-year-old surviving sister, did so. Patricia Kopta, also known as “The Sparrow,” resides in a predominantly residential 31,000-person area north of Pittsburgh under the moniker “The Sparrow.”
She frequented parking lots and busy roads to warn pedestrians and motorists about the impending end of the world. Before she began preaching, Kopta was an A student who became a model and dance instructor. After graduating from high school, she attended weekly ballroom dancing events while working in finance for a Pittsburgh plate glass manufacturer, according to her relatives.
Smith recalled that prior to her marriage, she frequently travelled to Puerto Rico with her friends. Smith told the Associated Press, “She enjoyed the ocean, the beach, and the sunshine. She asserted that her sister left the glass company after ten years due to migraines attributed by doctors to stress. She became an elevator operator at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh subsequently.
At that point, family members began to notice a change in her behaviour. Smith recalled: “She claimed to have seen an angel there,” Soon after, Kopta began preaching and was briefly hospitalised after medical professionals diagnosed her with “grandiose delusions” and schizophrenia. After her release, she continued to preach until her disappearance in 1992.
Bob Kopta told the Associated Press, “I get home one night, and she’s gone. They had been married for twenty years. Kopta, who is now 86 years old, described how they first met along a river in Pittsburgh where he kept a boat. While transporting her and her friends, he fell in love. They were married that year.
Police and family alike were mystified by the disappearance. While Kopta remembered his wife mentioning that she would like to visit Puerto Rico due to its warm climate, police even consulted a psychic. Therefore, he advertised in Puerto Rico’s newspapers but received no response.
She disappeared without a trace for years. A death certificate was sent to him seven years after her disappearance. Bob Kopta, a retired truck driver, said, “I went through a lot.” Whenever a body was discovered, I would wonder, “Is it Patricia? Where is Patricia?
Patricia Kopta was reportedly lost near the island’s capital, San Juan, in the northern villages of Naranjito, Corozal, and Toa Alta. When she was initially admitted to the adult home, she hinted that she had arrived in Puerto Rico on a European cruise ship, according to Kohlhepp.
After a social worker contacted the police in Pennsylvania, it took almost a year for DNA tests to conclusively identify the person as Patricia Kopta. Her spouse responded, “It’s unfortunate, but it’s a weight off my shoulders. “You’re a suspect if your wife goes missing. Bob Kopta, who did not remarry, stated that he has no intention of visiting and is attempting to forget the past.
Smith, however, wishes to visit her older sister on the island. She claims that she has been unable to speak with the older sibling over the phone due to her dementia. The twin sister of Patricia Kopta passed away without knowing the other twin was still alive. Smith stated, “Whether she knows me or not, I still want to see her, give her a hug, and tell her I love her.” I believed she might have died,”