MILWAUKEE -- In 2002, 7-year-old Alexis Patterson went missing, and 10 years later, Alexis' mom says she has never stopped looking for her daughter. Alexis' mom says she has a message for Alexis, whom she believes is still alive.
Alexis Patterson is arguably Milwaukee's most well-known missing child. Her story has captivated the attention of people across the city for 10 years.
Alexis' dad says he last saw her when he dropped her off for school at Hi-Mount Elementary on May 3rd, 2002. Alexis' mother says she believes one day, Alexis will come home.
"I know my baby is out there somewhere. My gut tells me. I don't have a feeling that my daughter is deceased," Ayanna Patterson said.
Ayanna says one day before the 10 year anniversary of her daughter's disappearance, she is exhausted. "I haven't slept for two days. I'm tired. I'm stressed out," Ayanna said.
In the days that followed after Alexis disappeared, Alexis' family members united with strangers to search for the second grader with the big smile, and Ayanna pleaded for answers.
The case drew national attention when featured on America's Most Wanted.
Alexis would be 17 years old today, and her mother is no closer to learning the truth about what happened to her. "Sometimes it hurts. In the beginning, it really just hurt. Now, I ignore that because my spirit is bigger than that," Ayanna said.
The case was transferred to the Milwaukee Police Department's cold case unit in 2009. Investigators held a press conference leading up to the 10th anniversary of Alexis' disappearance, telling reporters they continue to get tips. "At this moment, we have ruled out no one as being responsible for the disappearance of Alexis Patterson," Lt. Keith Balash said.
The unit has re-interviewed 65 people and combed through pages of documents, along with re-establishing a relationship with the Patterson family. "They doing what they can do, but it's not my battle. It's not the police battle. This is the Lord's battle," Ayanna said.
Ayanna says she has this message for her daughter: "Mommy love you big girl, and I'm praying that you come home. I'm praying that you see me, you see your family, and you know that we love you, and whoever have Lele just release her," Ayanna said.
Thursday, May 3rd, friends and family will gather at Hi-Mount Elementary School at 5:30 p.m. for prayer and a walk to Washington Park.
Police are hoping this big anniversary will energize their case.
If you have any information as to Alexis' whereabouts, you're asked to call MPD's cold case hotline at (414) 935-1212.