Missing woman found alive after more than 30 years; family reacts

ROSS TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WPXI) – A Pennsylvania man who has been searching for his wife for over 30 years has just learned that she is alive and well and has been living in Puerto Rico for decades.

It’s a missing persons case that’s sat unsolved inside Ross Township police for over 30 years.

“I come home one night and she’s just gone, and nobody knows where she’s at,” said Bob Kopta, who struggled to talk about the journey to search for his missing wife Patricia Kopta.

He said she had some mental health issues and talked about wanting to go to Puerto Rico where it was warm.

“It’s been going on almost 31 years, and it’s been bad,” he said. “It cost me a lot of money. I even put advertisements down in the paper in Puerto Rico looking for her.”

While none of that worked, she was right where he thought she might be.

“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 Police Deputy Chief Brian Kohlhepp said.

“They reported to us that she came into their care in 1999 where she was found in need in the streets of Puerto Rico, where she had been wandering around. While there she refused to discuss her private life or where she came from,” he said.

Years later, with dementia, she started to divulge some details that connected the dots back to Ross Township.

Through DNA samples, they confirmed a match. She is Patricia Kopta.

“Shock. I didn’t believe it. It was total shock,” said Gloria Smith, Patricia Kopta’s sister.

It’s a case closed, and a family reconnected.