Police in Iowa say that a 23-year-old mother who disappeared in 2000 is likely a homicide victim.
On Nov. 10, The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation announced that the disappearance of Cora Okonski "was not voluntary."
Okonski, who had a toddler son at the time of her disappearance, was a waitress in the small town of Tama, Iowa. She vanished in 2000, just a month before she and her boyfriend, Tait Purk, were to be married.
Purk was with Okonski on the night that she disappeared and has long faced scrutiny from investigators. According to KCCI, the two had a volatile relationship.
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Purk has denied any involvement in his girlfriend's disappearance, however. He says that Okonski walked to the store to buy cigarettes and never returned. He reported her missing two days after he last saw her.
According to the Daily Mail, Purk told Okonski on the day that she vanished that he wanted to put off their wedding date and that she became upset.
Purk is currently in prison for unrelated drug and gun charges and is set to be released in April.
Relatives of Okonski's say that they suspected she had died because she stopped collecting her Social Security checks and hadn't contacted any of them. Her body has never been found.
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Recently, investigators returned to where Okonski was last seen and spoke to newly identified witnesses, in addition to re-interviewing old witnesses.
"It was put on the shelf and collected dust and then it was opened back up by the DCI's interest in it," said Tama County Sheriff Dennis Kucera. "It's a case of interest and there's been new information that's been discovered."