With DNA match, family of woman missing 20 years gets peace of m - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

With DNA match, family of woman missing 20 years gets peace of mind

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Patricia Tamosaitis Patricia Tamosaitis
MEDICAL LAKE, Wash. -

A family now knows what happened to their mother after a kayaking accident 21 years ago.

Patricia Tamosaitis went missing after her kayak overturned in a rapid during a trip in Idaho. She was 56 years old then. Her body was never found. But that changed when authorities matched her DNA to a human skull found in 1996 along a Salmon River sandbar.

Her family says Patricia loved the great outdoors whether it was fishing or boating or any type of recreation. They still think about her every day.

“I just think that nobody could have a better friend than she was, a better mother than she was,” Paula Wahl, Patricia’s daughter, says.

They say their mother was someone loved by the community.

“She was just a happy, bubbly person, a people person, an outdoors person."

Their mom loved fishing and being with family. So when their mom went missing, “It was a terrible day for us,” Ed Tamosaitis, her son, says.

They remember that day vividly.

“I was at work. I got notified…At that point, when we were notified we just knew she was missing. There was no definitive answer of anything else,” Ed says.

“It was really rough, really rough. Total denial too,” Paula says. “It was like ‘how can that be? What do you mean she’s missing?’”They all gathered at their sister, Glenda’s, house that day 21 years ago. And in December, they gathered again. This time finding out the DNA matched the skull.

“I wanted us all to be together,” Ed says.

They're not calling it closure. Ed says, “I think it’s more peace of mind. Gone is that thought in the back of our heads that she could’ve gotten knocked in the head swam to shore and somebody took care of her. Can’t help but have those thoughts and those hopes that maybe that would happen and we know that didn’t happen now."

They say their mom would’ve been 78 this year.

“All the milestones that she got to miss. That’s what kind of hurts sometimes. The grandkids growing up, the graduations, the marriages…and all of the things we do together now,” Ed says.

But they say she’s still with them in spirit.

“She would’ve still been kicking and running along,” Ed says. “She would’ve been right out on the boats with us and camping and enjoying herself. So I think that’s what we miss the most.”

And now, "I think we're just looking forward to bringing her home," Ed says.  

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