Pennsylvania woman missing for more than 30 years found in Puerto Rico

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The family of 83-year-old Patricia Kopta, who was missing more than 30 years and recently discovered to be living in Puerto Rico. Photo courtesy WTAE-TV

March 4 (UPI) — A Pennsylvania woman missing for more than 30 years was found living in a nursing home in Puerto Rico, her family and police said.

Patricia Kopta, 83, was found after she had shared details about her past life to employees at a nursing home, according to Ross Township Police Department Chief Brian Kohlhepp.

Her former husband, Bob Kopta, 86, who had been married to Patricia for 20 years when she went missing, said he was shocked when he heard the news.

“Thirty-one years,” he said, “and it’s been bad.”

Police said that Kopta’s initial disappearance was not considered suspicious because she had a history of mental health issues and had made statements about wanting to go live in Puerto Rico.

Kohlhepp said that nursing home employees found her wandering the streets of Puerto Rico in 1999 and took her in. However, she refused to discuss details of her private life.

Authorities were first informed about the discovery of Kopta when an agent from the International Criminal Police Organization contacted them, saying that they had heard from a social worker in Puerto that they believed Kopta was living there.

“We didn’t expect it. It was a very big shock to see – to know that she’s still alive,” her sister, Gloria Smith said. “You know, we’re so happy and I hope I can get down to see her.”

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