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Stranger hasn't given up search for Alexis Patterson

Posted at 5:38 PM, Jul 12, 2016

One Milwaukee man says even though he is not related to Alexis Patterson, he has never given up the search to find the missing girl. She disappeared on her way to school on May 3, 2002.

Family and the community can only wait for DNA tests to find out if an Ohio woman police took DNA samples from could be Alexis Patterson. Patterson had been walking to school with her stepfather, but her teachers say she never made it to class.

Christopher Schwartz was living in the neighborhood where Alexis Patterson went missing when he found himself suddenly with a mission all those years ago.

"I didn't see anybody helping, no organizations, no one to help that family," says Schwartz.

This was before any social media existed, so Schwartz decided he needed to do something.

"It was just show up and start searching," says Schwartz.

He asked others to join in, and soon dozens of volunteers went out every day for months. The effort grew to include hundreds of people passing out flyers, looking through every section of Milwaukee.

"We went out with K-9 units that I had gotten together. We went through paths, through buildings, through the Miller Park area, down by the lake, down by the river," says Schwartz.

He says Alexis could have been anyone's child.  

"It was just a mystery to us all," says former neighbor Margie Holly.

One that neighbors, family and even strangers like Chris hope finally has a happy ending when the DNA tests come back.

"We just got to get those answers," says Schwartz.

Alexis Patterson would 21 years old today. The Ohio woman police have taken DNA from has denied she is Alexis.