Hidden Content
Against all odds, a woman who went missing decades ago has been found alive and well.
Imagine that one day your loved one vanished off the face of the Earth. Even after decades of searching you’d find no sign of them and could only assume that they’d died long ago.

Then one day you suddenly hear that they’re alive and well. What would you do?

That was the scenario that Bob Kopta from Ross, Pennsylvania, faced recently. His wife, Patricia Kopta disappeared without a trace in 1992.

Despite looking for her for years, he never found her. Eventually, he gave up hope and had his wife declared dead.

But out of the blue came a message from Puerto Rico. Authorities had discovered a woman in a local nursing home who might be Patricia Kopta.

DNA tests confirmed her identity. The long-lost woman, now 83 years old, had been found in the most unlikely place.

“You wouldn’t believe what we’ve been through,” Mr. Kopta told Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

“It’s such a relief to know she’s alive.”

Let’s take a look at the incredible story of Mrs. Kopta’s disappearance.

‘Something Must Have Happened’
In her younger days, Mrs. Kopta was a straight-A student who briefly worked as a model and dance instructor. According to her family, she would often go for vacations in Puerto Rico before she got married.

“She just loved the ocean, the beach, the warm sunshine,” Mrs. Kopta’s sister Gloria Smith told Associated Press.

In 1972, Bob and Patricia got married. She also started a career in finance, which would last for a decade.

Eventually, however, worsening migraines forced her to quit her job. According to doctors, the headaches were the result of stress.

And that’s when Mr. Kopta noticed the change.

Patricia had always been a devout Catholic, but her husband said her convictions began devolving into “irrational rants.” She became convinced Virgin Mary had warned her about the impending Judgment Day.

“Something must have happened. Somebody got to her because she started on this whole ‘the world is going to end’ thing,” said Mr. Kopta.

“She lost her job and started hanging around Downtown. When there was a baseball game going on, when a concert was going on, she’d be telling everybody to go home because the world was going to end in three days.”

The Disappearance
Mrs. Kopta street preaching earned her a reputation in the town. Her thin frame and erratic gait earned her a nickname — the Sparrow.

She also began to get in trouble with the police for harassing passersby, which eventually landed her in the hospital. Upon medical evaluation, doctors determined she suffered from delusions of grandeur and showed signs of schizophrenia.

Once out of the hospital, Mrs. Kopta kept preaching. And one day in 1992, she vanished.

“I come home one night, and she’s just gone,” Mr. Kopta said.

Her disappearance launched a search that would last for years, but no one ever found a sign of Patricia. The search measures got so desperate that the cops consulted a psychic.

The psychic said they’d find Mrs. Kopta’s body near water. They never did.

Yet, Mr. Kopta had a creeping suspicion that his wife may have returned to the vacation spot of her youth. He recalled her mentioning offhand that she’d like to return to Puerto Rico before she disappeared.

But nothing ever came up. Seven years after her disappearance, Bob Kopta obtained a death certificate for Patricia.

Finally Found
Just as Mr. Kopta gave up hope, a mysterious woman appeared at a Puerto Rico nursing home. She didn’t say much about her past but suggested that she’d arrived on the island from Europe.

The woman came to stay at the nursing home. As the years went on, she would slowly reveal small details about her life.

Eventually, the staff of the nursing home could piece together enough of the woman’s story to give rise to suspicions. Could this woman be Patricia Kopta?

They contacted an Interpol agent, who in turn got in touch with Ross Police Department. In 2022, Deputy Chief Brian Kohlhepp notified Kopta’s family that he’d asked for a DNA test to confirm the woman’s identity.

“[The DNA samples] were processed and revealed that the woman in Puerto Rico is indeed Patricia Kopta, alive and well for her advanced age and condition,” said Kohlhepp in a statement.

The search was over. Patricia Kopta had been found.

Unfortunately, we may never find out how she got to Puerto Rico. She suffers from dementia and seems reluctant to reveal her full story.

She’s also said she’s comfortable where she is and has no plans to leave the island. Similarly, Mr. Kopta says he has no plans to go see Patricia, but he is glad to know she’s getting good care.

“It’s a sad thing, but it’s a relief off my mind,” he said.

Mrs. Smith, however, intends to travel to Puerto Rico to see her sister again.

“Whether she knows me or not, I still want to see her and give her a hug and tell her I love her,” said Smith.