Image 2: Patterson with his wife Margaret
Name: William Durrell Patterson
Case Classification: Endangered Missing
Missing Since: March 5-6, 1957
Location Last Seen: El Paso, El Paso County, Texas
Date of Birth: July 23, 1904
Age: 52 years old
Weight: 200 lbs.
Hair Color: Gray
Eye Color: Unknown
Distinguishing Marks/Features: Unknown
Clothing: Unknown, but known as a good dresser.
Jewelry: Unknown, but usually wore expensive jewelry.
Additional Personal Items: Unknown
William and his wife Margaret Patterson left their home at 3000 Piedmont Avenue the night of March 5, 1957, or possibly early the next morning, without any indication they intended to be away more than a few hours.
The house was found in disarray, with dishes unwashed, underwear and a pair of Mrs. Patterson's stockings on a bed, and other indications the Pattersons did not know they were leaving for a long time. Tommy, the yellow-and-white cat that was Mrs. Patterson's most precious possession, also was left behind. Their automobiles were left at their house. There was no sign of a struggle.
Associates of the Pattersons told authorities in the 1950s that the couple left to go on an extended vacation to Florida, and later, that they sent word that they weren't coming back. A friend of the Pattersons, reported the couple missing August 15, 1957, five months after they were last seen in El Paso. A neighbor stated that she was at the Patterson's home the night they disappeared and that Mrs. Patterson seemed very upset and Mr. Patterson seemed unhappy that the neighbor was there. The neighbors also noted unusual activity at the Patterson's later that night.
El Paso authorities convened a rare court of inquiry, also known as an inquest, to look into the couple's whereabouts, but the inquiry failed to find them.
The Pattersons owned Patterson Photo Supply near Downtown. Patterson also owned an interest in a high-end boat company, property in Guaymas, Mexico, the house, a boat and a Cadillac. Associates told police that William Patterson had sent written instructions on how he wanted to dispose of his business and private properties. A letter signed "W.D. Patterson" stated that Patterson wanted his properties to be distributed among Doyle D.G. Kirkland, a friend and manager of Duffy's Photo Supply store; his business auditor; and an employee of Patterson who was 24 at the time. It was unusual for Patterson to leave his property to those people, considering that he had at least two living relatives at the time, his father and a sister. Kirkland was the last person who was at the Patterson house before the couple vanished. He was helping Patterson work on his boat in the garage at the house.
Several sightings of the couple were reported in Mexico and the United States, but sheriff's officials were never able to confirm any of them.
The case was reopened in 1984 when an undocumented worker who was hired to clean the home after the Pattersons vanished said he saw blood under and around the water heater in the garage, and a piece of human scalp on the propeller of Patterson's boat. He found a pair of jeans with a Rolex watch that belonged to Patterson, and said he also saw one of Patterson's associates remove bloody sheets from the home and put them inside the trunk of a car. He did not talk to police sooner because he was an illegal immigrant at the time.
Agency Name: El Paso Sheriff's Department
Agency Contact Person: Detective Irene Anchondo
Agency Phone Number: 915-538-2291
Agency E-Mail: N/A
Agency Case Number: Unknown
NCIC Case Number: Unknown
NamUs Case Number: Not listed
El Paso Times - Tales From The Morgue (March 4, 2009)
El Paso Herald-Post News Archive
Added: 5/11/13; Last Updated: 7/24/16
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** Listed information is from the time of disappearance.