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Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A cop was demoted. Does that mean he lied about a DNA test?

By Gina Barton, USA TODAY,


In episode 6 of Unsolved, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Ashley Luthern and I traveled to the small town of Bryan, Ohio.

Things got a little dicey when the mother of a woman named Lisa, whose ex-husband believed she could be Alexis Patterson, called the police on us. But she didn't complain about harassment. She claimed we were trying to break into her house. (In case it needs to be said: We weren't.)

We were there to try and figure out whether there was any truth to allegations that police faked a test comparing Lisa's DNA to that of missing Milwaukee girl Alexis Patterson, who vanished in 2002 at the age of 7.

Police in Bryan collected the Ohio woman's DNA in 2016. The fact that they sent it to Milwaukee via FedEx rankled Patterson, who thought the Milwaukee police should have traveled to Ohio to obtain the sample themselves. Five years later, Ayanna discovered a video of a Bryan City Council meeting that fueled her distrust.

Explore:Unsolved 4: A missing girl, a search for truth

According to a police report, Bryan Officer Tracy Williamson was accompanied by Officer Christopher Chapa when she swabbed Lisa's cheek. Chapa was later promoted to police chief, which was his role when he appeared before the council on Aug. 2, 2021. The assistant chief at the time, Gary Mohre, had submitted his resignation for council approval. When members asked him why he was leaving after only a few months on the job. He told them about a heated argument between himself and Chapa, according to a video recording of the meeting.

“He kept saying, 'No, you have to talk to me,'" Mohre says on the video. "I said, 'No I’m going home. I went out to my cruiser. He followed me to my cruiser and tried to use the passenger door, and I took off. I left, got to my driveway. The chief was coming up my driveway. I went inside and locked my door and he started banging on it. I asked him two or three times to leave my property.

WatchThe former Bryan Police chief and assistant chief discuss their heated argument beginning at 22:55

“I didn’t know this at the time but my wife was home and in the garden and she heard all the yelling and screaming going on. She came up to the door and said, honey it’s me, at that time I let her in, at that time Mr. Chapa came in also. My wife got scared and asked if she should call the sheriff since he entered the residence."

Chapa gave a very different description of the incident.

“I asked him what he was doing with several things. At one point, he told me: 'Nothing.' And I asked, 'What do you mean, nothing?'" Chapa recounted in the video.

“I was told that he wasn’t going to breastfeed me ...," Chapa said. "I didn’t believe I was berating him or putting him down, I just simply asked what he was doing.

“Went out to the car, it was a heated discussion but at least we were talking. I said we needed to continue talking to get it cleared up. He left so I followed him out to his house."

Chapa said Mohre hugged him before he left.

Mohre left the department. Chapa was demoted back to patrol.

Patterson recently told Milwaukee cold case Detective Tim Keller the Bryan officer who collected the sample was "crooked," but she was likely confused. That officer, Williamson, also has returned to patrol, but she was not demoted. Our reporting in Ohio found that she made the move voluntarily because patrol offers a more regular schedule.

Listen to episode 6 of Unsolved here:

For more background about the case or to catch up on previous seasons, check out

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Contact Gina Barton at (262) 757-8640 or Follow her on Twitter @writerbarton.

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