MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee police are chasing a new lead in the case of Alexis Patterson -- missing since May of 2002.
FOX6 News learned on Friday, July 8th Milwaukee police have received a tip from someone in Ohio -- claiming a woman he knows may be Patterson.
Police said they would be conducting DNA testing "to determine if this person is Alexis Patterson."
Social media was buzzing with news of the possibility Patterson may have been found.
"When it's dark and you get a little bit of light in there you get hopeful. And I think the city got hopeful," Tory Lowe, community activist said. "A lot of people have searched, a lot of people have dedicated their time and efforts and energies to figure out what happened and a lot of people have a heavy investment to see that she comes home back to Milwaukee safe."
The search has been ongoing for 14 years.
Officials have released age-progressed photos and reminded the community that Patterson has a scar below her right eye and a bump on her left pinky -- all in the hope that someday, someone would come forward with information about her fate.
FOX6 News' efforts to speak with the Patterson family Saturday were unsuccessful -- but Tory Lowe did speak with a family member.
"They want their privacy, to respect their privacy. And just to be prayerful and continue to support them and hopefully the DNA test results are positive," Lowe said.
Milwaukee police have not confirmed whether the woman in Ohio is, in fact, Alexis Patterson. MPD has not offered a timeline as to when DNA testing could be complete.
The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office held a ceremony for Alexis Patterson on May 3rd -- the 14th anniversary of Alexis' disappearance.
Alexis Patterson was last seen in front of her school, Hi-Mount Boulevard Community School. She has not been heard from or seen since.
At the time of her disappearance, Alexis was 3 feet, 8 inches tall and weighed 42 pounds -- with brown eyes and brown hair. Alexis was last seen wearing a red hooded jacket with grey stripes, a purple shirt, blue jeans and white Nike tennis shoes.
During the ceremony in May, Alexis Patterson's mother, Ayanna, got emotional.
"If it's 20 years, if it's 30 years, something is going to come up," said Patterson.
Patterson was so upset, she was out of breath. Paramedics were called to the scene to take her to the hospital. Her sister then spoke for her, hoping for answers.
"Where is she at? What is she doing? If she's being taken care of, does she remember anybody?" said Angel Patterson, Alexis' aunt.
While years have gone by, the pain of a missing child has not.
"Have some remorse and send her home. If they see our pain, they see that we are still missing her," said Angel Patterson.
The photo below, on the left is of Alexis prior to her disappearance. The photo on the right is an age-progressed composite created by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. It was created to show what Alexis may look like at 17 years old.
"We think about you all the time Alexis and we will never forget you," said Angel Patterson.
The Sheriff’s Office is still offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to her return. Anyone with any information regarding Alexis’ case can call the Sheriff’s Office at (414) 278-4788.