Man Feels 'Betrayed' & Refuses To Go See His Missing Wife 30 Years Later After She Turns Up Exactly Where He Thought She'd Be

The 30-year-old missing person case of Patricia Kopta is solved but leaves behind more questions than answers.

Patricia Kopta Twitter

Just this month, an incredible story broke after a woman who had been missing for over three decades was finally discovered and reconnected with her family.

The case had stumped authorities in Pittsburgh, where the woman lived with her family, and had seemed so hopeless that the police eventually came to declare her dead. After so many years, her family started to fear that it was true. Until it seemed the divine intervened. 


30 years later, the missing Patricia Kopta was found in Puerto Rico, the exact place where her husband had believed she would be.

In her early life, Patricia Kopta was a straight-A student with an interest in modeling and ballroom dancing, something she pursued even after graduating high school and taking a job at a plate glass company. 

According to her sister, Gloria Smith, before Patricia got married, she would frequently vacation to Puerto Rico with her friends to enjoy “the ocean, the beach, the warm sunshine.” After ten years of working at the glass company, however, Patricia quit due to stress-induced migraines and took up a different job as an elevator operator.


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It was here that she reportedly experienced something otherworldly that would change the course of her career in the public eye. "She said something about seeing an angel there," Smith told the press.

After this, she dedicated her life to street preaching, a role that the community would remember her as — a Pittsburgh preacher known as "The Sparrow."


She took to the parking lots and busy roads north of Pittsburgh and would warn passing drivers about the upcoming end of the world at every chance she got. During this time, Patricia was also struggling with her mental health and reportedly feared being institutionalized. She confided in her husband and told him that she longed to return to Puerto Rico where it was warm.

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Patricia and her husband Bob Kopta were married for 20 years until one night, she inexplicably vanished from their home.

"I come home one night, and she's just gone," Bob said, recounting the suddenness of the disappearance.

He and other members of her family contacted the local police and authorities, to no avail. The family even published adverts in Puerto Rican newspapers in the hopes that she might have gone to the vacation spot of her youth, chasing the warmth.


Their searches would inevitably be futile. Seven years after her disappearance, with a heavy heart, Kopta obtained a death declaration for his wife, believing it was the only answer to where she had gone.

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"I went through a lot," the husband recalled. "Every time they'd find a body somewhere (I wondered), 'Is it Patricia? Is it Patricia?'"


In the meantime, his hunches were not too far off. Patricia had returned to Puerto Rico and, between 1992 and 1999, her health and opportunities deteriorated.

She was found in ‘99 by a care home and reportedly taken off the streets from where she was “wandering around.” The social workers there tried to understand where she had come from, but Patricia was determined to keep her past a secret, for reasons unknown.

For decades, the Kopta family would live separate lives, far apart from each other, with no way to reconnect. Her husband did not remarry, but he never stopped worrying for her. Her siblings had to carry on with their lives believing their sister was dead. A twin sister of Patricia’s passed away during this time. 

Then, by chance of fate, Patricia began to exhibit signs of dementia while in the care home, and slowly began to reveal details of her past that gave the social workers more of an idea of where she had come from.


They reached out to Pittsburgh to try and match Patricia’s DNA samples and see if she really was the same woman. The samples were confirmed as a match.

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The discovery has rocked the world of her surviving family, who can’t believe the truth.

“It was a total shock,” her surviving sister Gloria Smith recounted. The family had believed Patricia to be dead for so long, it was a shock to hear that she was actually alive, across the country.

Bob Kopta was also relieved by the discovery but confessed that he felt somewhat betrayed by the whole situation. "She could have come home at any time,” he said.


Now that Patricia has been found, he is glad to know that his wife is being cared for, but he can’t bring himself to visit. He has been trying to forget the past for long enough, and it feels too late for him now.

Smith, however, has been enthusiastic to discover the fate of her sister and wants to reconnect as soon as possible. “We are so happy, and I hope I can get down to see her,” Smith said. 

She has not been able to talk to her sister on the phone due to Patricia’s condition, but that isn’t going to stop her. "Whether she knows me or not, I still want to see her and give her a hug and tell her I love her.”


Patricia’s reasons for abandoning her family seemingly on a whim, however, still remain a complete mystery. She has yet to explain her disappearance, or why she never reached out to her family during the years, even when she might have been able to.

What made her take such drastic action? Why didn’t she bring anyone with her? Hopefully, her family is able to find the answers and closure they need by reconnecting with their missing family member.

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Hawthorn Martin is a news and entertainment writer living in Texas. They focus on social justice, pop culture, and human interest stories.