Committed to Kill – Tatjana “Tanya” Kopric

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Guest Post by Ian Granstra

September 18, 1980

Thirty-five-year-old Tatjana “Tanya” Kopric had accomplished a lot during her short time in America. Five years after emigrating from the former Yugoslavia to study medicine, she was a practicing resident at the Truman Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri. Dr. Kopric was dedicated to her profession and was greatly liked and respected by patients and colleagues. They, along with friends, believed the intelligent and attractive career woman had only one flaw: her choice of suitors.
Tanya fell in love with Richard Bocklage, a college student ten years her junior. The couple was a study in contrast. Whereas Tanya worked hard and was dedicated to her profession, Richard had little ambition and was barely making the grade.
Richard Bocklage could not accept responsibility for his failures, nor could he commit himself to his studies. Instead, the struggling collegiate became committed to killing.

A gynecologist who worked with Tanya introduced her to his cousin Richard, a University of Missouri Pharmacy student, in March of 1980.
A whirlwind romance ensued during which Richard lavished Tanya with gifts and compliments. Within a month, he moved into Tanya’s apartment; two months later, the doctor and the pharmacy student were engaged.
Tanya was bubbling with excitement at the prospect of spending her life with the dashing younger man and future pharmacist.

Many of Tanya’s friends, however, had misgivings about Bocklage. Though he showered her with praise, those closest to Tanya believed he was sponging off her financially. Tanya was making a good living, and Bocklage was the proverbial “starving college student.” He was using Tanya’s credit cards more for purchasing toys such as hunting and fishing gear instead of buying college materials. Bocklage told Tanya he was committed to her, but he was clearly not as committed to his education. As he was spent more time with Tanya, he spent less time in class. Unbeknownst to Tanya, midway through his sophomore year at Missouri, her beau was on the brink of flunking out.

The skipping of classes finally caught up to Bockalge on July 19, 1980. That afternoon, he opened a letter from University of Missouri officials informing him that he was academically ineligible.
A desperate Bocklage pleaded for Tanya to use her connections in the admissions department to get him re-admitted. She refused, saying the matter was his responsibility.
Tanya tolerated Bockage’s mood swings for three weeks, hoping her fiance would get his life in order. When it became apparent that that was only wishful thinking, Tanya finally conceded defeat. She knew she had made a mistake and realized her friends and colleagues were right when they said that she could do better in her choice of men.
Part of what had attracted Tanya to Richard was what she thought was a shared love of the medical field and of helping others. She looked forward to her fiance, working in a field related to her chosen profession. It was now clear, however, that Richard did not have the work ethic to be a pharmacist.
On September 2, 1980, Tanya broke off the engagement and ordered Bocklage out of her apartment.

Increasingly desperate, Bocklage wrote a letter to University of Missouri administrative officials, begging them for one more chance. On September 18, however, the admissions committee unanimously denied his appeal. The committee’s secretary called to tell him of the decision shortly after 3:00 p.m.  At 3:45 p.m., two professors saw Bocklage driving toward the Dean’s office. He was then seen by several people inside of the building, carrying a large manila folder as he anxiously roamed the hallway. Although he was told that the Dean was out and likely would not be returning that day, Bocklage insisted on waiting for him. He did so for nearly an hour before leaving.

Three hours later, Tanya returned to her apartment after work. A woman saw Bocklage walk up to her as she exited her car and shoot her point-blank in the head three times. By the time police and paramedics arrived, she was dead. The witness had taken cover behind a parked car, and Bocklage did not see her. She recognized him as the man who had dated Dr. Kopric. The gun used to kill Tanya was determined to be a .45 automatic. Police found that Bocklage had purchased such a gun several days earlier, but it was not found in his apartment. Some believe the gun was the object which Bocklage concealed under the manila folder, and that he had planned to kill the University of Missouri Dean of Admissions as well.

A warrant was issued for Bocklage’s arrest, charging him with the first-degree murder of his former fiance. Six days later, on September 24, Royal Canadian Mounted Police found Bocklage’s car in Thompson, Manitoba, Canada, over 2,000 miles from Kansas City and over 1,100 from International Falls, the northernmost point of Minnesota. Two area residents saw Bocklage before he dropped out of sight. In the ensuing 39 years, there have been few leads to his whereabouts.

Two months after Tanya was murdered, her parents in Yugoslavia received a letter postmarked September 16, 1980, two days before their daughter’s murder. The letter was typed, but the address had been written in Bocklage’s handwriting. The letter was a vengeful diatribe written in the tone of a manifesto. It read in part, “Dear. Kopric family. Your daughter Tanya Kopric has been executed in Kansas City, Missouri. She has caused so much grief, anguish, and turmoil to so many Americans that this act was necessary. Her execution was inevitable.”

Some believe Bocklage may have committed suicide in the rugged terrain near where his car was found in Canada, but searches failed to find any evidence. Bocklage is a native of St. Louis and his parents have both died. A person on “Websleuths” says the FBI was at both of his parents’ funerals to see if he would show, but with no luck. The Websleuth writer also says Bocklage has a sister who still lives in St. Louis.

Richard Bocklage has eluded detection for nearly 40 years and remains one of Kansas City’s longest sought fugitives. Richard Bocklage would today be 63-years-old. If you have any information on his whereabouts, please contact the Kansas City at 816-234-5000 or the Kansas City FBI office at 816-512-8200.



THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. SYNOVA STRIVES TO CITE ALL THE SOURCES USED DURING HER CASE STUDY, BUT OCCASIONALLY A SOURCE MAY BE MISSED BY MISTAKE. IT IS NOT INTENTIONAL AND NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.

Further Reading:

Unsolved Mysteries

Websleuths

America’s Most Wanted


More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:

Ian Granstra

Ian Granstra is a writer and a native Iowan now living in  Arkansas.
Growing up, he enjoyed watching real-life crime shows and further researching the stories featured. He wrote about many of them on his personal Facebook page, and several people suggested he should start a group featuring his writings. Ian founded the Facebook group “Murders, Missing People and More Mysteries” in August of 2018 he writes about many cold cases. The group also features many current criminal cases in the news.
When Ian isn’t writing, he enjoys exercising, traveling and collecting sports cards. He’s also a big animal lover (his Facebook nickname is “beagle lover.”)

This week’s Recommended Reading:


I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer


Exploding the Phone


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All information used to create this content is a matter of public record and can be easily found online or can be verified by the guest blogger. Any participation or alleged involvement of any party mentioned within this site is purely speculation. As the law states, an individual is innocent until PROVEN guilty. I do not own the photos used in this post. All photos are used under the fair use act. No copyright infringement intended. Any and all opinions are that of the guest blogger and don’t necessarily reflect the views of Synova Ink©2017-2019. All rights reserved.


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Synova Cantrell may be known for her fedora, but she wears many hats. Synova volunteers with the Missouri Missing organization by highlighting obscure cold cases on her true crime blog to help generate tips. She firmly believes together we can give grieving families answers, hope, and support. Synova works as the Production Editor of True Crime: Case Files Magazine. http://www.truecrimecasefiles.com As SWMO’s #1 True Crime Writer, Synova authored Unorganized Crime; a biography of the ex-gangster Sidney Heard of Chicago, IL. This thrilling tale of con games, bank robbery, and mayhem has recently been endorsed by a retired FBI agent. Her best-selling series, Seriously Stupid Criminals, is a fan favorite in both paperback and e-book formats. Her latest e-book, Grim Justice tells the story of a judge and his wife retired in Palm Beach, Florida in 1955. Her first case files book, Snatched was released on New Year's Day. Fans eagerly await her newest serial killer series set to launch late 2019. Synova has a passion for helping fellow authors and knows how overwhelming it can be to get started in this business, that is why she created Synova's Simply Biz. Synova breaks down the business of writing in a simple way. If you need help with your business check out her new page www.synovaink.com/simplybiz. To follow all her adventures and read her true crime blog, log onto www.synovaink.com Connect with Synova: Twitter: https://twitter.com/synovaink Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/synovacantrell Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/synovaink

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