Nearly 50 years later, disappearance of New Jersey woman still a mystery

Eileen Mihalko used to be born a month after her cousin, Patricia Jane Wagner, vanished after leaving her New Jersey domestic to head on a espresso date.

However Eileen instructed Dateline she has at all times felt a powerful connection to the relations member affectionately referred to as “Patty,” that induced her to dedicate her existence to looking for Patty and others.

“We simply ignored each and every different through a month,” Eileen stated. “However I think like she’s at all times been in my existence. And because she doesn’t have a voice, I think like I want to give her one.”

Patty used to be a 26-year-old unmarried mom of 2 boys when she disappeared on October 20, 1972. They lived in a two-family domestic in Jersey Town, New Jersey with Patty’s mom, Marie.

That night time, Patty requested her mom to observe the men and instructed her she used to be happening a espresso date with a person named Dennis. Eileen, who spoke to Dateline on behalf of the relations, stated Patty’s son, Kenny, who used to be 5 years previous on the time, remembers begging his mom to not depart.

“She had promised to take him to McDonald’s day after today,” Eileen defined. “It used to be their factor. However he instructed me that he had a intestine feeling that evening. He stated he knew she wasn’t coming domestic.”

He used to be proper. When Patty didn’t go back domestic the following morning, her mom changed into frightened and referred to as the police. Eileen added that Patty’s date, Dennis, had additionally been reported lacking through his relations at the moment.

“From what I perceive, the police to start with concept she had simply run off with this Dennis man,” Eileen stated. “However the relations knew higher.”

Eileen defined that Patty used to be a stay-at-home mother and whilst she did some housework paintings, she didn’t have the cash or assets to run off.

“Most significantly, she would have by no means left her youngsters,” Eileen stated. “From all of the tales I heard right through the years, that used to be at all times the similar – she liked her boys and would have by no means run off.”

Eileen instructed Dateline that Kenny has brilliant reminiscences of his mom taking them to the park and to the Jersey Shore the place they’d play till the solar went down. He recalls her choice of report albums and her love of track – a love handed all the way down to him.

“Her disappearance wrecked them,” Eileen stated. “It wrecked our complete relations.”

She instructed Dateline that the men have been raised through Patty’s mom Marie till she died within the early 1980s, simply months after Patty’s grandmother died.

“If she wasn’t elevating the ones boys, I feel she would’ve died faster,” Eileen stated. “Dropping her daughter — and now not figuring out what took place to her — killed her.”

After years of sneaking round the home past due at evening to hear her members of the family talk about the main points of Patty’s disappearance, Eileen took motion.

Whilst operating as a full-time caregiver in New Jersey, Eileen additionally faithful a lot of her time to internet sleuthing, so as to lend a hand clear up her cousin’s case.

With the assistance of Patty’s sons, she received Patty’s delivery certificates and added her to the Nationwide Lacking and Unidentified Individuals Machine (NamUs). She added that CODIS additionally now has each her and Kenny’s DNA.

In early 2020, Eileen stated that thru her internet sleuthing, she positioned a person she believes to be the Dennis Patty used to be going to fulfill the day she disappeared. She instructed Dateline that Dennis have been dwelling in Florida, and that he refused to talk about Patty’s disappearance along with her relations. She stated she handed the guidelines to investigators with the New Jersey State Police. Makes an attempt through Dateline to achieve Dennis on the quantity Eileen supplied have been unsuccessful.

Patty’s disappearance is thought of as an open lacking individuals investigation this is being treated collectively through the New Jersey State Police and the Jersey Town Police Division.

New Jersey State Police Spokesperson Sergeant Lawrence Peele would now not ascertain if the person closing noticed with Patty used to be positioned or if there are any individuals of pastime in Patty’s disappearance.

“We can’t liberate additional main points in her case because of it being an open investigation,” Sgt. Peele instructed Dateline. “However we urge any person with knowledge to name the police.”

Eileen believes her cousin used to be killed again in 1972 and is made up our minds to determine precisely what took place.

“One thing truly dangerous took place that evening, however I’m positive she post a combat,” Eileen stated. “She used to be a power to be reckoned with.”

Patty isn’t the one particular person for whom Eileen advocates. As a part of her internet sleuthing, she maintains a number of Fb teams that shine a gentle at the lacking.

“If we don’t talk up for them, no person else will,” Eileen stated. “The least I will do is give them a voice.”

Just about 50 years have handed and there are nonetheless no solutions as to the place Patty may well be or information about what took place that evening. However Eileen stated she received’t surrender till she reveals out.

“I don’t assume she’s alive,” Eileen instructed Dateline. “However that doesn’t imply we surrender. The solution to what took place to her is in the market. And I’m going to search out it.”

Any person with details about Patty’s case is requested to name the New Jersey State Police at (609) 882-2000. Her case quantity is H660201900023.

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