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Bizarre reason why investigators declared Patricia Kopta dead after she is found alive 30 years later

Bizarre reason why investigators declared Patricia Kopta dead after she is found alive 30 years later

82-year-old Patricia Kopta was discovered alive in Puerto Rico last year

Investigating authorities were left blown away last year to discover that an 82-year-old woman living in Puerto Rico was actually missing person Patricia Kopta, who disappeared from her Pennsylvania home in 1992.

Patricia - known by her neighbours as 'The Sparrow - was reported missing by her husband Bob over 32 years ago following a bout of peculiar behaviour.

In the months that followed, an urgent search was launched, with her family under the impression she had taken a flight to Puerto Rico - where she'd spent a week or two before - but hadn't been seen since.

Police declared at the time, however, that the disappearance wasn’t overtly suspicious, being that Patricia had seemingly gone off radar before reappearing several times before, earning her her bird-like nickname.

In the weeks prior to her absence, Patricia was known for preaching and claiming she'd had 'visions' of the Virgin Mary.

She was also arrested for having warned total strangers that the world was about to end in an Armageddon, with doctors at the time beginning to believe that she had schizophrenia.

Police at the time stated that her husband was not a suspect.

Patricia disappeared in 1992. (WPXI)
Patricia disappeared in 1992. (WPXI)

Investigating officers also spoke with a psychic, who suggested Patricia had died and that her body was near water, after which Bob obtained a legal declaration saying that his wife was considered dead.

And for 31 years, he believed her very much to be.

In a shocking twist of fate last year, however, an elderly woman found living in living Puerto Rico was identified as Patricia, leaving both Bob and the police staggered.

The now 83-year-old was found in a nursing home 1,700 miles from home, with investigators discovering she was taken in as a 'person in need' after being found wandering aimlessly near the home back in June 1999 - around seven years after Bob reported her missing.

It was later realised that the woman had been suffering with dementia - a syndrome (a group of related symptoms) associated with an ongoing decline of brain functioning.

Bob was blown away last year to hear that his wife had been found. (WPXI)
Bob was blown away last year to hear that his wife had been found. (WPXI)

Patricia started to open up about her life and a social worker eventually figured out that she was from Pennsylvania and had gone to the island on a cruise ship from Europe, and so contacted the relevant authorities.

At the end of a nine-month identification process that involved a DNA test and analysis of her dental records, it was confirmed that the woman was Patricia.

Bob, who was 86 when news broke and never remarried following his wife's disappearance, said he felt relieved at a press conference following the revelation.

"It’s a sad thing, but it’s a relief off my mind. When your wife goes missing, you’re a suspect.

"After 30 years, you try to forget about it," Bob answered when asked for a reason for his wife's vanishing.

"Now, I can forget about it. We know what happened, and she is taken care of now. She could have come home any time. But that’s what she wanted. She always said she wanted to go to a warm climate."

The 83-year-old was found in Puerto Rico. (WPXI)
The 83-year-old was found in Puerto Rico. (WPXI)

Patricia's sister, Gloria, went to Puerto Rico after the DNA test came back

positive to see her sister for the first time since 1992.

"We’re very thankful to know that Patty is alive and well," Gloria told WMTW. "She’s being well taken care of. We really thought she was dead all those years. It was a very big shock to know that she’s still alive."

Featured Image Credit: WPXI

Topics: News, US News, World News, Crime