Mannequin being used in search for missing New York City boy

Josh Einiger Image
Saturday, April 30, 2016
Mannequin being used to help find missing boy
Josh Einiger reports from SoHo.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- In a world of surveillance video and DNA matching and K9 searches, this is a most unusual investigative technique.

A moon shot of sorts in the hunt for 7-year-old Patrick Alford.

"People forget and go on with life. It's not that they don't care; it's that Patrick's a missing child that happened in 2010. Most people don't remember that," said Lt. Christopher Zimmerman, NYPD.

Lieutenant Zimmerman hasn't forgotten.

Patrick was last seen at 9 p.m.

He's been leading the search for Patrick for nearly as long as he'd been alive, the day he walked away from his East New York foster home in January of 2010.

Since then, they've searched from the air and the ground. They've hung posters throughout the city. And still nothing.

"People in New York, they're so busy never have time to look around and look at people's face," said Rodrigo Linhares, of BBDO Advertising.

But they do look in store windows.

So a group of designers at BBDO Advertising got the idea to sculpt a life size mannequin that looks the way Patrick would look today, at age 12.

The initiative is called "Invisible Faces," and now, a lifelike Patrick stands in this store window on one of the trendiest blocks of SoHo. There is also an iPad with information about the case and the number for Crime Stoppers.

"I wonder where he is. We hope from the bottom of our hearts this gets people to notice him and generate more leads," said Bianca Guimaraes, of BBDO Advertising.