Search team on missing girl relocates
Police shut down mobile unit in park near Alexis' home in
favor of station
By JAMES H. BURNETT III
of the Journal Sentinel staff
Last Updated: June 10, 2002
A constant presence for more than five weeks in Washington Park, the
Milwaukee Police Department's mobile command unit was packed up and
driven away Monday as police shifted their Alexis Patterson task force to a
north side station house.
Alexis, a 7-year-old student at Hi-Mount
Community School, disappeared the morning of
May 3 while walking to the school at 4921 W.
Garfield Ave. from her home about a half block
Within a day of her disappearance, Police Chief
Arthur Jones had the mobile command unit, a
hybrid RV complete with high-tech
communications equipment, posted in a parking lot
at Washington Park, near N. 39th St. and W.
Thirty-six patrol officers, 23 detectives and
several supervisors worked around the clock from
the command post, about 10 blocks from Alexis'
home, establishing searches and patterns,
collecting tips and filing and analyzing search
Moving the operation to the Third District station
at N. 49th St. and W. Lisbon Ave. - about a block
from Alexis' home - doesn't mean the search is
being scaled back, police said Monday.
"It's been a little over five weeks; we have not
diminished our efforts," Capt. Brian O'Keefe told
reporters Monday afternoon.
The case file has grown to several thousand
pages, O'Keefe said, and supervisors thought the
data could be better analyzed with the tools at the
spacious data/communication center at the Third
District police station.
On Monday, police also released a 15-second
surveillance video from the Jewel-Osco store at
N. 35 St. and W. North Ave. The tape, recorded
the evening before Alexis disappeared, shows her
mother, Ayanna Bourgeois, pushing a grocery cart
with Alexis and her stepbrother following close
The jacket Alexis is wearing in the video is the
same she had on on May 3, O'Keefe said. Earlier
Monday, Deputy Police Chief Leslie Barber said
investigators hoped a moving image of Alexis
might help people determine whether they have
In the surveillance video, the trio are shopping for cupcakes, police said, the
same treats authorities say were later withheld by Alexis' parents for
disciplinary reasons. She had been counting on taking them to school the day
The release of the surveillance video came three days after police
subpoenaed local television stations for their videotapes of coverage of Alexis'
O'Keefe said Monday that police had begun reviewing tapes from the TV
stations that have responded to the subpoenas.