BROOKLYN (PIX11) – Patrick Alford, Sr. lived for years in Harlem but moved to the East New York section of Brooklyn, after his son vanished from foster care there on January 22, 2010. That decision to re-locate, Alford told PIX 11, led to a near-fatal shooting that left him partially paralyzed.
“I remember (hearing) knocking on my door,” Alford recently told PIX 11, from the nursing home where he now spends his days. “When I opened my door, I remember ‘Where’s that reward money?’ I remember that being said.” A squad of five men proceeded to shoot him several times in the head.
Alford claims a rapper friend of his was promising $500,000 as a reward for the return of Patrick Alford, Jr. The 7-year-old boy was put in foster care in late December 2009. Within three weeks, he had disappeared from the 11th floor of the building at 130 Vandalia Avenue, where he was living with a foster family selected by the Administration for Children’s Services. The foster mom, Librada Moran, told police she had briefly turned her head, while bringing out the trash, and when she turned back, young Patrick was gone.
Patrick’s mother, Jennifer Rodriguez, told PIX 11 she was 22 and feeling overwhelmed with three, small children when ACS came to her door on Staten Island. The child care agency placed Patrick and his younger sister, Jayleen, in the same foster home. But Patrick’s mom–and aunt–noticed something was wrong, when they attended a supervised visit with Patrick in mid-January 2010. Patrick’s aunt, Blanca Toledo, spoke to the foster mother.
“She said, ‘I don’t understand too much English.’ And when she said that, I said ‘What?!’ Because Patrick and Jayleen, they only know English.”
“My son was just acting crazy,” Jennifer Rodriguez recalled. “He was crying, acting out, throwing a chair. He was like “No!!”–I want to come home, Mommy! I want to be with you, I want to be with you.”
It was the last time Jennifer Rodriguez ever saw her only son, her firstborn child.
Patrick’s aunt said the foster mother had reported incidents with Patrick to ACS. The aunt told a counselor the boy needed help.
“His spirit was broken,” Toledo recalled of the boy who was always polite and respectful to his elders in the past. “He always protected his two sisters. He was very unhappy there. Patrick wasn’t Patrick. He was very destroyed.”
“Somebody in Brooklyn has to know what happened to my son,” Rodriguez said tearfully, in the kitchen of her Staten Island apartment. She recalled that police dogs traced Patrick’s scent to a bus stop, about two blocks from the foster family’s apartment building.
Back in 2010, the NYPD told PIX 11 it had interviewed 14,000 people and entered 9,000 apartments, in the quest to find Patrick. Among those interviewed: registered sex offenders in the community where Patrick was living, before he vanished.
Patrick’s mother, who has struggled with depression since her teen years, is working to get back full custody of her three daughters. Now 27, she is researching and writing a book about her experience with the Administration for Children’s Services. Rodriguez told us she was molested by a famly friend when she was four years old, and that led to some of her mental health issues. She keeps all of Patrick’s belongings in her apartment, including the sheets he last slept on, his slippers, sneakers, game chair, and his yellow bike helmet.
Patrick’s father, Patrick, Sr., remains in a nursing facility, hoping that rehabilitation will help maximize his body’s ability to move. The left side of his body is paralyzed, but he can get up from his wheelchair and walk very slowly, with great effort. His message for Patrick, Jr.–“Come home, your siblings need you.”
Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for anyone with information that leads to Patrick. The phone number is 1-800-577-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential. We will attach an “age progression” photo of what Patrick Alford might look like now, at age 11. His birthday is November 28th.