Authorities said that for more than 30 years, Patricia Copta’s husband thought his wife was dead after she disappeared in 1992, and police were so desperate to find her that they even consulted a psychologist.
Despite a frantic search, no trace of him was ever found, and Kopta was declared legally dead in the late 1990s.
“Every time they found a body somewhere (I wondered), ‘Is it Patricia? Is it Patricia?'” said her husband, Bob Kopta, a retired truck driver who never remarried. Didn’t
But at this time, she was alive and being cared for at an adult care home in Puerto Rico, police in Ross Township, Pennsylvania, where she lived, said at a news conference last week.
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“I’ve been in law enforcement for 22, 23 years, and it’s very rare to have a successful resolution to a missing persons case decades ago,” Deputy Brian Kolheap told Fox News Digital. “When I called her husband and his sister, her only living relatives, they were shocked. They couldn’t believe it.”
Copta, now 83, was found wandering through the towns of Naranjito, Corozal and Toa Alta in the northern part of Puerto Rico in 1999 and was taken in as a “person in need”, but she returned to the United States to return to her home. Never told anyone about life. states, the police said.
And while people in Puerto Rico were able to piece their lives together, bits and pieces of her life moved over the years as she slowly suffered from dementia, Kolheap said during the press conference.
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A social worker gathered enough information that she passed it on to authorities in Ross Township, where she was a street preacher known as “The Sparrow, a model and dance instructor”.
Kolhepp said a DNA test confirmed her identity about a year later.
Copta’s sister, Gloria Smith, said she often vacationed in Puerto Rico with friends before getting married because she “loved the ocean, the beach, the warm sun,” she told The Associated Press.
Smith said her sister quit her job at the glass company after 10 years due to migraines, which doctors attributed to stress. He then got a job as an elevator operator at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh.
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Only then the family members noticed a change in his behaviour. “He said something about seeing an angel there,” Smith recalled.
Kopta believed he had been chosen as one of God’s 144,000 “bonded servants” on Earth, and according to the Charlie Project, a missing persons database, he pursued all his other hobbies, such as Quit dancing, to dedicate his life to spreading the word of God. ,
Copta was briefly institutionalized after doctors diagnosed her with “delusions of grandeur” and said she had symptoms of schizophrenia. After her release, she continued to promote until she disappeared in 1992.
According to The Charlie Project, “Unlike most people who lived on the streets all day, she maintained a clean, presentable appearance, wearing makeup and a dress or skirt every day.” “She had several skirmishes with the police and each time, told them to be prepared because the end of the world was coming.
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His sister said that Kopta was often abused by strangers. At least once she was beaten and robbed of her jewelry, and she had a vision that she would eventually be beaten to death. “
Copta’s husband published advertisements in Puerto Rican newspapers because he knew she was drawn to the island’s “fragrant season”, but this yielded no results, and she received a declaration of death seven years after her disappearance.
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“I went through a lot,” he said. “It’s a sad thing, but it eases my mind. When your wife disappears, you’re a suspect.”
He said he didn’t plan to visit her, but was glad to know she was being taken care of.