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 all the time felt a powerful connection to the relatives member affectionately referred to as “Patty,” that triggered her to dedicate her existence to looking for Patty and others.
“We simply overlooked each and every different by means of a month,” Eileen stated. “However I think like she’s all the time 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 lads and instructed her she used to be occurring a espresso date with a person named Dennis. Eileen, who spoke to Dateline on behalf of the relatives, stated Patty’s son, Kenny, who used to be 5 years outdated on the time, recollects begging his mom to not go away.
“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 night time. 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 turned into nervous and referred to as the police. Eileen added that Patty’s date, Dennis, had additionally been reported lacking by means of his relatives at the moment.
“From what I perceive, the police to begin with concept she had simply run off with this Dennis man,” Eileen stated. “However the relatives 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 all the time the similar – she cherished her boys and would have by no means run off.”
Eileen instructed Dateline that Kenny has vibrant recollections of his mom taking them to the park and to the Jersey Shore the place they’d play till the solar went down. He recollects her number of file albums and her love of track – a love handed all the way down to him.
“Her disappearance wrecked them,” Eileen stated. “It wrecked our whole relatives.”
She instructed Dateline that the lads had been raised by means of 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 quicker,” Eileen stated. “Shedding her daughter — and no longer realizing what came about to her — killed her.”
After years of sneaking round the home past due at night time to hear her members of the family talk about the main points of Patty’s disappearance, Eileen took motion.
Whilst running as a full-time caregiver in New Jersey, Eileen additionally faithful a lot of her time to internet sleuthing, so to assist resolve her cousin’s case.
With the assistance of Patty’s sons, she bought Patty’s delivery certificates and added her to the Nationwide Lacking and Unidentified Individuals Device (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 residing in Florida, and that he refused to talk about Patty’s disappearance along with her relatives. She stated she handed the ideas to investigators with the New Jersey State Police. Makes an attempt by means of Dateline to succeed in Dennis on the quantity Eileen supplied had been unsuccessful.
Patty’s disappearance is thought of as an open lacking individuals investigation this is being treated collectively by means of the New Jersey State Police and the Jersey Town Police Division.
New Jersey State Police Spokesperson Sergeant Lawrence Peele would no longer 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 not unencumber additional main points in her case because of it being an open investigation,” Sgt. Peele instructed Dateline. “However we urge any person with data 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 came about.
“One thing in reality dangerous came about that night time, however I’m certain she publish a battle,” Eileen stated. “She used to be a drive to be reckoned with.”
Patty isn’t the one individual for whom Eileen advocates. As a part of her internet sleuthing, she maintains a number of Fb teams that shine a mild at the lacking.
“If we don’t discuss up for them, no person else will,” Eileen stated. “The least I will be able to 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 came about that night time. However Eileen stated she gained’t surrender till she unearths out.
“I don’t suppose she’s alive,” Eileen instructed Dateline. “However that doesn’t imply we surrender. The solution to what came about to her is available in the market. And I’m going to seek out it.”
Someone with details about Patty’s case is requested to name the New Jersey State Police at (609) 882-2000. Her case quantity is H660201900023.