A street preacher who vanished in 1992 and was presumed dead has been discovered alive in Puerto Rico.

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO: A Pennsylvania woman, who went missing 31 years ago and was declared dead, was discovered alive in a nursing home in Puerto Rico, according to her family and the authorities.

According to Ross Township Deputy Police Chief Brian Kohlhepp, Patricia Kopta went missing in 1992, and leads in her case had been pursued throughout the years. Kopta was a well-known “eccentric” street preacher who went by “Sparrow” before she went missing from her residence north of Pittsburgh, he reportedly said.

‘Person in need’
Kopta, now 83, was discovered wandering across northern Puerto Rico seven years after she went missing and was transported as a “person in need” to a nursing facility, Kohlhepp told reporters at a recent news conference on Friday, March 3. Kopta, who has dementia, had previously kept certain aspects of her life private, but as time passed, she started sharing information.

By the end of 2022, Kopta had provided enough details that a social worker at the nursing facility notified Pennsylvania authorities about her identity. Kohlhepp said that a DNA test verified that it was the missing woman. Kohlhepp said, “She was concerned she was going to be institutionalized. Which is what we believe led her to flee the country.”

‘Delusions of grandeur’
Kopta briefly stayed at a facility before going missing after being diagnosed with “delusions of grandeur” and showing signs of schizophrenia, per the Houston Chronicle. After being discharged, she continued to preach till the point she went missing, according to her family. She explored the northern Puerto Rican communities of Naranjito, Corozal and Toa Alta, which are all close to the city of San Juan. Kohlhepp said that she had dropped hints about coming to Puerto Rico on a cruise ship from Europe, when she was originally taken to the home, as reported by NBC.

Kopta’s husband, 86-year-old Robert, said that he had been married to his wife for 20 years before she went missing. He reportedly said that his relatives thought she might be in Puerto Rico. To track her down, he said that he had posted advertisements in Puerto Rican newspapers and contacted a psychic regarding her whereabouts. Almost 25 years ago, the retired electrician said that his wife was declared dead by authorities. Every time the police found a body, he claimed, he was terrified it might be his wife. He said, “It’s a relief knowing that she’s not laying in a ditch somewhere, or murdered somewhere.”

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