ROSS TOWNSHIP, Pa. — A woman who had worked as a preacher on the streets of Pittsburgh before suddenly disappearing in 1992 was found alive in Puerto Rico.
The Ross Township Police Department had investigated the disappearance of Patricia Kopta as a missing persons case for more than 30 years until she was discovered living in a care home in Puerto Rico, WPXI reported.
Kopta was also known as “The Sparrow” when she disappeared.
“I came home one night, and she’s just gone, and nobody knows where she’s at,” Bob Kopta, Patricia’s husband, said in a news conference.
Bob Kopta told WPXI that his wife had some mental health issues and had talked about wanting to go to Puerto Rico because it was warm.
“It’s been going on almost 31 years, it’s been bad,” Bob Kopta told WPXI. “It cost me a lot of money, I even put advertisements down in the paper in Puerto Rico looking for her.”
“We were contacted by an agent from Interpol, as well as a social worker from Puerto Rico, who believed they had her in an adult care home in Puerto Rico,” Ross Township Deputy Chief Brian Kohlhepp told WPXI. “They said she came into their care in 1999 when she was found in need in the streets where she was wandering around. While there, she refused to discuss her private life or where she came from.”
Patricia Kopta currently suffers from dementia. Recently, she began to divulge details that led investigators to Ross Township, WPXI reported. A DNA test confirmed her identity.
“Shock. I didn’t believe it. It was a total shock,” Gloria Smith, Patricia Kopta’s sister, told WPXI. “We really thought she was dead all those years. We didn’t expect it and it was a very big shock to find out she was alive, and we are so happy, and I hope I can get down to see her.”