Although African-Americans make up just 13 percent of the U.S. population, we account for 33 percent of the missing in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s database. Cases involving African-Americans also tend to receive less media coverage than missing Whites, with missing men of color getting even less attention.
NewsOne has partnered with the Black and Missing Foundation to focus on the crisis of missing African-Americans.
To be a part of the solution, NewsOne will profile missing persons and provide tips about how to keep your loved ones safe and what to do if someone goes missing.
Name: Alexis S. Patterson
Case Type: Endangered
Date of Birth: April 4, 1995
Missing Date: May 3, 2002
Age Now: 21
Missing City: Milwaukee
Missing State: Wisconsin
Hair Color: Black
Hair Length: Medium
Eye Color: Brown
Wear Glasses or Contacts: No
Circumstances of Disappearance: Patterson was last seen in the area of Hi-Mount Public School, located at 4921 West Garfield St. in Milwaukee. Patterson was dropped off by her stepfather, who says he last saw her standing in the crosswalk.
Police recently performed a DNA test on an Ohio woman. Her ex-husband suspected she might be Alexis Patterson because she did not remember her early childhood. The woman, whose identity is being kept secret to protect her privacy, also matched several of Patterson’s characteristics listed on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and resembled an age progressed photo of Patterson.
The ex-husband and his fiancée reached out to Milwaukee police and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel for help, and Patterson’s mother Ayanna Patterson held out hope that the woman in question was her long-lost daughter.
“My heart is telling me this is my child,” Ayanna Patterson told the paper. “My baby is coming home.”
But the woman’s identity was in doubt because she produced credible documents showing she was not Alexis Patterson. Police asked the woman to voluntarily submit to a DNA test, which she did, and the results came back negative, Sgt. Timothy Gauerke of the Milwaukee Police Department told NewsOne.
“MPD received a call from the Wisconsin Regional Crime Lab regarding the results of DNA testing derived from a tip that came in from a Ohio man relative to the 2002 disappearance of Alexis Patterson. The sample collected by law enforcement authorities in Ohio of a female there does NOT match that of Patterson’s,” Gauerke said.
The Journal-Sentinel reported that Patterson’s mother reacted with a mix of “grief, rage,” and “disbelief.”
“No matter what the test says, I still believe one billion percent you are my child,” Patterson said. “I want you to continue to go on with your life and be as happy as you can be,” Patterson said of the Ohio woman. “And be the best mother you can possibly be. And raise your children. And don’t let no one hurt your kids. Don’t let your children out of your sight.”
But deep down, Patterson says she doesn’t believe the DNA results because they were taken from samples more than a decade old. She has provided police with a sample of her own DNA and asked police to compare her sample to that of the Ohio woman’s.
“Prove me wrong,” Patterson said. “Make it clear to me.”
However, Milwaukee police say the results make it clear that the Ohio woman is not Alexis Patterson.
“There is no further information to share at this time,” Gauerke said.
Before the results came back, Ayanna Patterson said she would not give up, no matter the findings.
“I am strong,” she said. “I will keep looking.”
Last Seen Wearing: Alexis S. Patterson was last seen wearing a red hooded jacket with a gray stripe on the sleeves, a purple shirt, light-colored blue jeans, and white Nike tennis shoes. She wore her hair in two braids pulled back into one ponytail and was carrying a pink “Barbie” book bag.
Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts or circumstances of disappearance for Alexis Patterson may contact the Milwaukee Sheriff’s Office at (414) 278-4788. A $10,000 reward is being offered for information leading to Patterson’s recovery. The public may also contact the Black and Missing Foundation’s confidential Tip Line.