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Man charged with murder in Tama County cold case

Tait Purk, charged in a 2000 murder out of Tama County. (photo courtesy Iowa DPS)

A Tama County man is now charged for the 2000 disappearance and murder of Cora Okonski.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation arrested 50-year-old Tait Otis Purk after a grand jury returned a true bill indictment of him.

23-year-old Okonski was reported missing in Tama by her boyfriend in April of 2000. Investigators ruled that her disappearance was not voluntary and reopened the case as a homicide in November.

Okonski's ex-fiance, Purk, had long faced police scrutiny since he was with her the night she disappeared and the two had a volatile relationship. Purk has said he told Okonski he wanted to put off their wedding date earlier the day she disappeared and that she became upset. Purk has denied involvement, telling police that Okonski never returned home after walking to the store to buy cigarettes.

He's in federal prison on unrelated drug and gun charges, and is scheduled to be released in April.

Purk is charged with first degree murder.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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