by Stephanie McNeal
Petra Pazsitka was living in the city of Braunschweig when she disappeared without a trace on July 26, 1984.
According to The Telegraph, who quoted an unnamed friend, Pazsitka was studying computer science and had just finished her thesis paper.
She had gone to the dentist the last day she was seen, and had planned on going to visit her parents afterward. But she never made it there, sparking a huge manhunt, The Telegraph said.
Pazsitka’s disappearance initially stumped investigators, and her case was featured on a German true-crime show called Aktenzeichen XY.
Police suspected that her disappearance was connected to the case of a 14-year-old girl who had been raped and murdered near where Pazsitka vanished, NBC News reported, citing Joachim Grande, a spokesman for the police in Braunschweig.
However, a few years later there was a breakthrough in the case. A 19-year-old man identified as Günter K. confessed to killing the 14-year-old in 1985.
In 1987, he confessed to also killing Pazsitka – and authorities closed the case in 1989. The young woman’s body was never found.
But now, police said, Pazsitka’s “disappearance” appears to have been a carefully orchestrated plot to start a new life.
Pazsitka had been saving money for months before she vanished, and spent the next few decades living in different German cities, police said. She eventually settled in Düsseldorf, where she has been living for 11 years, according to The Telegraph, citing police.
She was able to evade notice because she never opened a bank account or had a social security card, a driver’s license, or a passport.
An official told NBC News the now–55-year-old paid for everything in cash and made money doing “illicit work.”
A woman claimed to be Pazsitka when she reported a burglary at her home and police arrived, according to NBC News.
When first asked who she was, the woman allegedly gave a fake name. But she then claimed to be Pazsitka.
She has remained mum on why she vanished, and said she wants no contact with the public or her living family members.
“We asked her if there was violence or sexual assault in the family, but she has clearly ruled that out,” an official said according to the The Telegraph.
According to NBC News, the woman’s brother and mother were “in shock and tears when they heard the news.”
It is unlikely the woman will face any charges – but if it is determined she is Pazsitka, she will have to be declared to be alive, The Telegraph reported.