Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 5,909
Registered: ‎07-26-2019

Husband finds wife after 31 yrs

 read an article abt a  Pennsylvania man  who had been looking  since 1992

for the Pennsylvania woman who went missing 31 years ago that  he married in 1972 .



" A Pennsylvania woman who went missing more than 30 years ago in a case that stumped authorities who later declared her legally dead has been found  in 2023 living in a nursing home in Puerto Rico.

Patricia Kopta left behind a husband and siblings and meandered through northern Puerto Rico for a while before she was taken as a person “in need” to the adult care home in 1999, according to details announced at a news conference this week in Ross Township, where she once lived. "

Kopta, once known as a street preacher in her home town, initially kept her past secret while in Puerto Rico. But she began to divulge details as she suffered progressively from dementia, Ross Township Deputy Police Chief Brian Kohlhepp said.

But before she began preaching, Kopta was a straight-A student who became a model and dance instructor. After graduating high school, she worked in finance at a Pittsburgh plate glass company and would attend ballroom dancing events weekly, according to her family. She would vacation often in Puerto Rico with her friends before she got married, Smith recalled.

“She just loved the ocean, the beach, the warm sunshine,” Smith told the AP.

Smith said her sister quit her job at the glass company after 10 years because of migraines that doctors blamed on stress. She then got a job as an elevator operator at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh.That’s when family members noticed a change in he

" Shortly afterward, Kopta began preaching and was briefly institutionalized after doctors diagnosed her with “delusions of grandeur” and said she had signs of schizophrenia. Upon her release, she kept preaching until she vanished in 1999. "


“I went through a lot,” said Bob Kopta, a retired truck driver. “Every time they’d find a body somewhere (I wondered), ‘Is it Patricia? Is it Patricia?’”

Meanwhile, Patricia Kopta apparently was wandering the island’s northern towns of Naranjito, Corozal and Toa Alta, located just southwest of the capital of San Juan. When she first was taken in at the adult home, she had hinted that she had arrived in Puerto Rico via a cruise ship from Europe, Kohlhepp said.

After a social worker contacted police in Pennsylvania, it took almost a year for DNA samples to confirm that the woman was indeed Patricia Kopta.

“It’s a sad thing, but it’s a relief off my mind,” her husband said. “When your wife goes missing, you’re a suspect.”

Bob Kopta, who did not remarry, said he doesn’t plan to visit, and that he’s now trying to forget the past, though he’s glad to know she’s being taken care of.

Smith, on the other hand, wants to go to the island to see her older sister. She says she’s been unable to speak to the elder sibling on the phone because she cannot hold a conversation given her dementia. A twin sister of Patricia Kopta died without knowing her fellow twin was still alive.

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

___ AP researcher Rhonda Shafner contributed from New York.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 11,177
Registered: ‎06-19-2010

Re: Husband finds wife after 31 yrs

Sad story.  Wouldn't surprise me if the husband gets sent a bill.

“You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore to be happy”. (By Nightbirde, singer of the song, It’s Ok)
Respected Contributor
Posts: 3,650
Registered: ‎05-31-2022

Re: Husband finds wife after 31 yrs

Such a sad story. I would want her moved back to Pittsburgh so she could be near her sister, even though she may not remember her. I wonder if she was ever treated for the schizophrenia.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 43,644
Registered: ‎01-08-2011

Re: Husband finds wife after 31 yrs

Goodness!  What the husband and family went through!

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 5,909
Registered: ‎07-26-2019

Re: Husband finds wife after 31 yrs


 the article did not say if she had been treated  for a mental health issue but she was  " taken off the street in 1999 to an adult care home  "  in Puerto Rico as she had been wandering the streets per the  article  .


 Agree , it  is a sad story for the  lady who now has dementia   and her husband who looked for 31 yrs .  One good  note was the astute person who   cared enough to listen   and  contacted authorities and  helped get her reunited with her  sister .

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 5,291
Registered: ‎06-15-2015

Re: Husband finds wife after 31 yrs

(thread title only)


And here I thought our taking 30 years was a long time. Beat us by close to a year.


hckynut 🇺🇸