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Remains Found In Queens In 2002 ID’d As Missing New Jersey Woman

Disappearance Of Patricia Viola Led To The Creation Of DNA Database Law
Patricia Viola (credit: CBS 2)

Patricia Viola (credit: CBS 2)

BOGOTA, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A New Jersey man learned Wednesday that his wife’s remains have been identified. The housewife vanished without a trace more than a decade ago.

Her mysterious disappearance led to the creation of a DNA database law. CBS 2’s Dave Carlin found out what police found on a Queens beach and reports that this cold case is far from over.

“It hasn’t really totally sunk in,” Jim Viola said.

Jim Viola finally has answers about his wife, Patricia, who vanished from their home in Bogota on Feb. 13, 2001.

Remains were found on Rockaway Beach the year after she disappeared, but only now, more than a decade later, has DNA testing finally connected the bones in Queens to Patricia Viola.

However, Jim Viola said he’s still left with a lot of unanswered questions.

“For anybody, even the local police, to come up with a theory of what happened, it’s crazy because the evidence is not there to show anything,” he said.

Jim Viola said he was at work, the couple’s two kids were at school and Patricia had returned home after volunteering at a school library. She then left in the early afternoon, without her epilepsy medication, purse, money or cellphone — and she left behind her keys.

“But he never gave up on her over the years,” State Sen. Loretta Weinberg said.

Weinberg worked with Jim Viola to get “Patricia’s Law,” which went into effect in 2008 and puts DNA profiles of missing people in a national database to be matched with unidentified corpses, hospital patients and body parts.

That law, named for her, was vital in getting Patricia’s remains identified.

As the family struggles with the knowledge that brings additional pain and uncertainty, there is pride and gratitude that Patricia’s Law is making a difference.

The Viola’s 21-year-old son does not yet know because he’s in a medically induced coma, battling an infection.

“He’s just starting to come out of it right now, so, actually, I made sure the TVs are turned off in the room because we don’t want him to find out that way,” Jim Viola said.

He said he is waiting for the day his boy is out of the hospital so that the family can finally have services for this wife and mother, whose full story may never be known.

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