Local News

Spring Lake Police Open Unsolved Crimes

Posted March 9, 1998

— Investigators in Spring Lake are hoping new technology will help them solve some old cases, including the disappearance of a 7-year-old girl back in 1991.

Despite an intensive search, the likes of which Spring Lake has never seen before or since, young Jennifer Patterson was never found. But police believe the department's newly created violent crimes and narcotics unit can shed new light on the crime.

The girl's disappearance brought the community out in force in an effort to find her. Jennifer was wearing a white bathing suit when she was last seen in her back yard in June, 1991. Fort Bragg soldiers joined forces with local police and hundreds of volunteers. They searched for several days, but had no luck.

Detective Tony Hart of Spring Lake Police says he hopes new information will come to light.

Hart says he believes the little girl is dead. He says he hopes that, after all this time, anyone with information won't hesitate to come forward.

Allen Patterson, the girl's father, was originally a suspect, and he failed a lie detector test. Police say they plan to interview him again in the near future.

Police say technology has improved so much that it pays to take another look at older, unsolved cases now.

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