Is a woman living in Ohio really this girl who disappeared from Wisconsin in 2002?

Posted at 10:52 AM, Jul 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-12 10:52:46-04

MILWAUKEE, Wis. – Has a girl who disappeared in Wisconsin in 2002 been found as an adult in Ohio?

That’s the question Milwaukee police are trying to answer. In May 2002, 7-year-old Alexis Patterson disappeared on her way to elementary school. No one has seen her since.

But police received a tip recently from the ex-husband of an Ohio woman. He said she doesn’t remember much about her childhood and had trouble finding the documents they needed to get married a few years ago. He contacted Milwaukee police, according to WISN.

The man said she had a scar under one eye and a bump on her pinky finger, just like Alexis Patterson.

The woman, who is 28 years old and a mother of two children, lives in Bryan, Ohio. Alexis Patterson would be 21 years old, casting further doubt on the theory. The woman is not being identified to protect her privacy.

Bryan Police Chief Michael Willis sent a police captain to the woman’s home last week, where she turned over a birth certificate and other documents. She also provided saliva for a DNA test. Police said the woman, who doesn’t believe she’s the missing girl, gave the sample voluntarily.

"She cooperated. The DNA was total cooperation on her end. She did not have to give that to us if she didn't want to. I didn't have a warrant or ability to force her in any manner to give that up. She cooperated thoroughly and gave all the documents and gave the DNA freely,” Capt. Christopher Chapa with Bryan police told WITI. “The subject gave a birth certificate and a passport and some documents on her whereabouts since she's been here -- and was that under a different name than Alexis Patterson."

Chapa continued, “She does not believe it's her. She says she's been with the people she's with her entire life. (She says) it's not her and she doesn't know why this is happening.”

Police are waiting for the DNA test results.

A $10,000 reward is being offered for information in the Alexis Patterson case. Anyone with information can call (414) 278-4788.