EL PASO, TX - William, 52 and Margaret Patterson, 42 were last seen on the night of March 5/6, 1957 at their home in the 3000 block of Piedmont Avenue in Kern Place, El Paso, Texas. Nobody knows what happened to them, they simply vanished from one day to the next. Their car was left in the driveway and the family cat was left to fend for itself. William owned a photography shop in town (Patterson Photo Supply)and it must have been an eerie sight for those that knew the couple had disappeared to see the shop sitting empty and unopened day after day.
Early on, a “business associate” claimed that the couple had gone on a sudden extended vacation to Florida. When the Pattersons still hadn’t returned after five months Cecil Ward, a friend and neighbor filed a missing persons report with the police.
A neighbor, Jeri Cash told police that she had been by the Patterson place the night they disappeared. She didn’t know the couple very well, but she said that Margaret seemed upset to her and William made it clear that he was annoyed that Mrs. Cash was there. Jeri and her family noticed “unusual activity” at the house later that night, but when Mrs. Cash told the police about what she had seen, they didn’t seem to care very much about her story.
Later, a letter appeared, alleged to be from a W.D. Patterson arranged to have William’s properties divided between Doyle Kirkland, a friend and manager at Doyle’s Photo Supply, his business auditor Herb Roth and a 24-year old employee at Patterson Photo Supply named Art Moreno. The letter seems strange because William had at least two known relatives, including his father and a sister. The signature on the letter was challenged. It’s unknown whether the letter was authenticated and honored.
Kirkland was also seen at the house the night the couple disappeared. He was in the garage with William working on a boat. In 1984, a man named Reynaldo Nangaray came forward claiming he had washed blood out of the Patterson’s garage soon after the couple disappeared and that he’d found pieces of scalp on the propeller of the boat’s motor. In 1957 he was an illegal immigrant, he hadn’t come forward sooner because he’d feared deportation.
It wasn’t enough to take to a Grand Jury, however and the case remains open to this day.