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Police continue search for missing man, report foul play is possible

Special to the Signal

“Based on information we have received there is a possibility of foul play,” said Hayneville Police Chief Kelvin Mitchell, regarding the case of a 48-year-old Hayneville man who has been missing since Christmas Eve despite two search efforts.

Willie James Patterson, 48, also known as “Cheerio” has been missing since he left the 700 block of Old Swamp Road in Hayneville on Dec. 24, according to Mitchell.

He said it was reported that Patterson came home on Dec. 24 from his construction job, gave his mother some money for Christmas and left his mother’s home on foot walking along Old Swamp Road.

Another individual, he said, informed police that Patterson may have been seen riding in a truck on Old Letohatchee Road on Tuesday, Dec. 27.

According to Lowndes County Emergency Management Director Walter Hill, a search on Thursday, Jan. 5 included the Patterson family, volunteer fire fighters, the Hayneville, Mosses and Burkville Fire Departments, Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office and Wilcox County Sheriff’s Office.

After four hours of searching in and near to where Patterson had been seen, including a deep wooded area, no sign or evidence of his presence was found, said Hill.

On Sunday, Hill said, Mitchell, he, along with Lowndes County Sheriff John Williams, Lowndes County deputies, Wilcox County Sheriff’s Office officials, Monroe County EMA officials, trained search and rescue officials and search dog also searched various areas of Hayneville. That searched was ceased after about four hours, he said.

“We will remain determined in our effort to find Mr. Patterson to help give his mother, his family and the community closure in this unfortunate incident,” said Mitchell.

Mitchell express his thanks to the Monroe County EMA/Search and Rescue Team, Lowndes County EMA and search dog handlers for their assistance. He also thanked the Lowndes and Wilcox County Sheriff’s Departments and Lowndes County first responders.

Patterson was 6’1″, weighing 150 pounds and last seen wearing blue jeans, a cap and brown work boots.

Anyone with information, which will lead to his whereabouts, is asked to contact the Hayneville Police Department at 334-548-2128.