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  • Sarah Turney

Alexis Patterson

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On the morning May 3rd, 2002, 7-year-old Alexis Patterson was very excited about going to school. Alexis was already a good student, she got straight A’s and prided herself on her perfect attendance record. But this day was going to be very special. The night before, she and her mother Ayanna Patterson, purchased cupcakes for her to bring to her first-grade class. But when her mother realized Alexis had not finished her homework, she told her she was no longer allowed to bring the treats to her class. Frustrated, Alexis packed up and got ready to make the short walk to Hi-Mount Community School. The school was just 242 steps from her front door, but her mother or stepfather usually walked with her anyway. That morning, her stepfather LaRon Bourgeois walked with her. When they got to the end of their street, they met a crossing guard who walked Alexis to the other side of the street to the school.

What happened next and even parts of what I’ve already told you is highly debated among LaRon Bourgeois, witnesses at the school and law enforcement. What we know for sure is that Alexis went missing that day.

To complicate matters further, in 2016 14 years after Alexis went missing, a man came forward claiming his ex-wife was the missing girl. Since then, Ayanna Patterson has believed her daughter is not missing but alive and well, unable to believe the truth of her identity. But some detectives are certain that the answers about what happened to Alexis will be found closer to home.

Alexis Patterson was 7 years old when she went missing from Milwaukee Wisconsin on May 3rd, 2002. At the time she was 3ft 8 inches tall and weighed approximately 42 pounds. She 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. She has black hair and brown eyes. She also has a scar under her right eye and a bump on her left pinky finger. There is a $10k reward being offered for information that leads investigators to Alexis. Anyone with information is urged to call their local FBI office. You can also submit a tip anonymously online at Tips.FBI.Gov





Resources:

20 Years Missing: The Day Alexis Patterson Disappeared. WISN, 4 May 2022, https://www.wisn.com/article/milwaukee-alexis-patterson-missing-20-years-since-disappearance/39894820#.



“Alexis Patterson Disappeared 20 Years Ago Today.” YouTube, TMJ4 News, 3 May 2022, https://www.youtube.com/?watch=.



Alexis S. Patterson. FBI, 10 Sept. 2010, https://www.fbi.gov/wanted/kidnap/alexis-s.-patterson.



Barton, Gina, and Ashley Luthern. “Alexis Patterson Has Been Missing since 2002. Odds Are You Don't Know Her Story.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 3 May 2022, https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/2022/05/03/elizabeth-smart-alexis-patterson-missing-children-racial-bias/7384510001/.



Burnett III, James H. Five Years Later, Alexis' Disappearance Remains Unsolved. 7 May 2007, https://archive.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/Five-years-later-Alexis-disappearance-remains-unsolved-385122621.html/.



Burnett III, James H. Police Relocate Team on Alexis. 11 June 2002, https://archive.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/Police-relocate-team-on-Alexis-385117771.html/.



Burnett III, James H. Polygraph Failed, Sources Say - Archive.jsonline.com. 9 May 2002, https://archive.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/Polygraph-failed-sources-say-385112631.html/.



Burnett III, James H. Search Efforts Fade with Time. 11 Nov. 2002, https://archive.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/Search-efforts-fade-with-time-385120151.html/.



Burnett III, James H. Search for Child Exposes Racism. 29 May 2002, https://archive.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/Search-for-child-exposes-racism-385115641.html/.



Burnett III, James H. Suspect Arrested in Racist Fliers Case - Archive.jsonline.com. 30 May 2002, https://archive.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/Suspect-arrested-in-racist-fliers-case-385116081.html/.



Burnett III, James H. Tips Come in and the Search Goes on, but Still There's No Sign of the ... 11 May 2002, https://archive.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/Tips-come-in-and-the-search-goes-on-but-still-theres-no-sign-of-the-missing-girl-385113891.html/.



Burnett III, James H., and Vikki Ortiz. Search Steps up for Girl. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 7 May 2002, https://www.jsonline.com/news/.



Cheng, Mallory, and Kobe Brown. “Milwaukee Police Department Is Still Looking for Alexis Patterson, 20 Years Later.” WUWM 89.7 FM - Milwaukee's NPR, 3 May 2022, https://www.wuwm.com/2022-05-03/milwaukee-police-department-is-still-looking-for-alexis-patterson-20-years-later.



Doege, David. Man Who Posted Racist Fliers Won't Be Prosecuted. 6 June 2002, https://archive.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/Man-who-posted-racist-fliers-wont-be-prosecuted-385117171.html/.



Epstein, Reid J. One Year Later, Fervor to Find Alexis Wanes. 4 May 2002, https://archive.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/disappearance-of-alexis-patterson-journal-sentinel-archives-385123251.html/.



Johnson, Mark, and Annysa Johnson. 2 Missing Girls' Cases Show Media Disparity. 15 June 2002, https://archive.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/2-missing-girls-cases-show-media-disparity-385118501.html/.



Laasby, Gitte. Milwaukee Police Still Pursuing Alexis Patterson Case. 2 May 2012, https://archive.jsonline.com/news/crime/milwaukee-police-still-actively-pursuing-missingchild-case-tl58npo-149919935.html/.



Madhukar, Jessica. This Week Marks 20 Years since Alexis Patterson Disappeared. TMJ4, 2 May 2022, https://www.tmj4.com/news/local-news/this-week-marks-20-years-since-alexis-patterson-has-gone-missing.



Milwaukee, FOX 6 Now. “Milwaukee Police: DNA Results Indicate Ohio Woman Is Not Alexis Patterson.” FOX6 News Milwaukee | Wisconsin & Local Milwaukee News WITI, 14 July 2016, https://www.fox6now.com/news/milwaukee-police-dna-results-indicate-ohio-woman-is-not-alexis-patterson.



Nakayama, Yukare. “'Come Home, Baby': Family Remains Hopeful 20 Years after Alexis Patterson's Disappearance.” CBS58, https://www.cbs58.com/news/come-home-baby-family-remains-hopeful-20-years-after-alexis-pattersons-disappearance.



Search Continues for Missing Girl. 6 May 2002, https://archive.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/Search-continues-for-missing-girl-385109241.html/.



Staff. River Search for Alexis Unsuccessful, Police Say. 14 Aug. 2002, https://archive.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/River-search-for-Alexis-unsuccessful-police-say-385119361.html/.



Stephenson, Crocker. Family Plea: `God Forgives, and We Forgive. Give Us Back Our Child.'. 15 May 2002, https://archive.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/Family-plea-God-forgives-and-we-forgive-Give-us-back-our-child-385111741.html/.



Stephenson, Crocker. Father of Alexis Patterson Charged in Vicious Beating of Baby Daughter. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 3 Dec. 2013, https://www.jsonline.com/news/crime/.



Stephenson, Crocker. “New Hope in Mystery of Alexis Patterson's 2002 Disappearance.” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, PMJS, 9 July 2016, https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/local/milwaukee/2016/07/09/new-hope-in-mystery-of-alexis-pattersons-2002-disappearance/87009370/.



Stephenson, Crocker. ‘Massive, Brutal Assault’ on Daughter Gets Man 18 Years. 13 June 2014, https://archive.jsonline.com/news/crime/massive-brutal-assault-on-daughter-gets-milwaukee-man-18-years-b99289509z1-263102591.html/.



Sykes Jr., Leonard. From the Journal Sentinel Archives: The Disappearance of Alexis Patterson. 2 Aug. 2002, https://archive.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/disappearance-of-alexis-patterson-journal-sentinel-archives-385123251.html/.



White, Franny. Vigil Kindles Hopes after Failed Search for Missing Girl. 4 June 2002, https://archive.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/Vigil-kindles-hopes-after-failed-search-for-missing-girl-385116871.html/.



“‘I Wanted to Know:" Ohio Man Thinks His Ex-Wife Is Alexis Patterson.” YouTube, TMJ4 News, 12 July 2016, https://www.youtube.com/?watch=.



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