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Monday, June 5, 2023

Missing Pennsylvania Lady Discovered 30 Years Later Living in Puerto Rico

Patricia Kopta, 82, was last seen in Pittsburgh in the summer of 1992, according to a missing person flier posted by the Pennsylvania Emergency Response Center

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UNITED STATES/PUERTO RICO: Authorities say a Pennsylvania woman who had been missing from her spouse for more than 30 years and who had even been legally pronounced deceased was discovered alive in Puerto Rico.

People who mysteriously vanish are rarely discovered decades later, in these cases. Patricia Kopta, 82, has distinguished herself as an exception, however, and is currently receiving treatment at an adult care facility 1,700 miles (2,700 km) from the location of her disappearance for dementia. Kopta was last seen in Pittsburgh in the summer of 1992, according to a missing person flier posted by the Pennsylvania Emergency Response Center.

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Patricia Kopta, a devoted Roman Catholic who regularly attended Sunday mass, used to reside in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, suburb of Ross Township, and commute to different jobs, including one operating an elevator.

She gradually started acting strangely, and her piety gradually gave way to irrational rants, including claims that God’s mother had appeared to Patricia Kopta and warned her of an impending nuclear apocalypse.

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According to Bob Kopta, who spoke to the Post-Gazette, after she lost her employment, she started hanging around downtown streets, telling people attending baseball games and concerts to leave because the end of the world was near.

People who came into contact with her began calling her “the sparrow,” an appellation motivated by her frail build and erratic gait. She once had her wedding and engagement rings stolen by a gang of people. According to the Post-Gazette, doctors said she was experiencing “delusions of grandeur” when she was detained a second time.

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There was no sign of her for years, though once she sent her husband a letter recounting how someone was pursuing her, which echoed claims she had made multiple times earlier.

A Post-Gazette columnist later wrote how even those in downtown Pittsburgh noted that they hadn’t “seen the sparrow for a long time”. Though the columnist Dennis Roddy added, “Mostly they let it pass”.

In their desperation to find her, investigators at one point spoke with a psychic who suggested Patricia Kopta had died and that her body was near water.

Bob Kopta eventually obtained a legal declaration saying that his wife was considered dead.

Later, though, the police found out that Patricia Kopta had been taken in by a Puerto Rican senior care facility in June 1999 because she needed help.

As time went on, she revealed more of her past to the staff at the home. And that created the conditions for a Puerto Rican social worker and an Interpol agent to get in touch with Brian Kohlhepp, the deputy police superintendent in Ross Township, last year.

Also Read: Puerto Rico Faces Severe Floods as Tropical Storm Fiona Approaches


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