Police: Iowa mother who vanished in 2000 was homicide victim

Cora and Austin Okonski photo from IowaColdCases.org

Cora and Austin Okonski photo from IowaColdCases.org

TAMA, Iowa (AP) — Law enforcement officials say a 23-year-old central Iowa mother who vanished in 2000 is believed to be a homicide victim.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation announced Thursday, Nov. 10, that agents have concluded Cora Okonski’s “disappearance was not voluntary.”

The agency says it’s reclassifying the Tama woman’s disappearance as a homicide rather than a missing person, and that her apparent death is under investigation. No suspects were identified.

Tama is about 60 miles northeast of Des Moines.

Tait Purk, Cora's fiance, photo from IowaColdCases.org

Tait Purk, Cora’s fiance, photo from IowaColdCases.org

Okonski’s ex-boyfriend, Tait Purk, has long faced police scrutiny since he was with her the night she disappeared and the two had a volatile relationship. He’s set to be released from federal prison on unrelated drug and gun charges in April.

Purk has denied involvement, telling police Okonski never returned home after walking to the store to buy cigarettes.