16-year old cold case turns to homicide investigation - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

16-year old cold case turns to homicide investigation

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(KWWL) -

The 16-year-old Iowa cold case concerning the disappearance of Cora Ann Okonski is now considered a homicide investigation. 

DCI agents would not give specifics as to why the investigation is now being treated as a homicide. Lead DCI Special Agent in charge Richard Rahn said new interviews and evidence reveal Okonski did not disappear on her own free will. 

Cora Ann Okonski disappeared from the Tama area in April of 2000, nearly 16 years ago.

The young mother was 23-years-old at the time.

Police initially looked to Okonski's boyfriend Tait Purk, who was with her the night she disappeared. Purk has denied any involvement in her disappearance-telling police he gave Okonski a few dollars to buy cigarettes and she later left their home and never returned. He then reported her missing two days later. 

According to police, the two had a rocky relationship. The last development in the case was in September 2003. Investigators made an extensive search through a rural farm and salvage yard on Highway 21-near Irving after a tip lead them there.

Police say the owner of the salvage yard was Purk's cousin. Police dogs were used to search the scene, eventually finding bone and bone fragments, along with pieces of women's clothing. DCI crime lab later found that the DNA results weren't a match to Okonskis. 

KWWL spoke with Cora's father, Jerry Okonski during the time of the search in 2003. 

"The best thing that can happen is that she appears at her door tomorrow, but we don't expect that to happen, we think she's dead," said Okonski. "And so the next best thing, you know, knowing that she's dead, is that we can find her body, find her remains and give her a funeral. You know, bury her and put it to rest And get some closure."

Now sixteen years later, the family awaking to a new possibility of finding out just what happened to Cora Okonski. 

Okonskis former boyfriend, Tate Purk is serving time in federal prison on unrelated drug and gun charges. He is set to be released from prison in April.

Police have not give any indication as to whether he's still a suspect in the investigation. 

If you have any information on Okonski, please contact the Department of Public Safety, at (515) 323-4360.

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