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Crime News Cold Cases

South Carolina Woman Alexis Ware Disappears After Telling Her Mom "The Devil" Wouldn’t Stop Calling

“I miss my child every day,” Alberta Simpkins said of her missing daughter. “I keep asking God to send me a clue.”

By Jill Sederstrom
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The same weekend a South Carolina mom of two mysteriously disappeared, she confided in her mom that “the devil” wouldn’t stop calling her.

Alexis Ware, 29, didn’t tell her mom who she suspected was behind the incessant blocked phone calls she had been getting all weekend, only referring to the caller by that ominous nickname, but it seemed clear that Ware was afraid, according to a new episode of the Dateline: Missing in America podcast.

Ware’s mother, Alberta Simpkins, told Dateline correspondent Andrea Canning that her daughter believed someone was following her. She also made a grim prediction about her upcoming birthday not long after arriving at her mother’s home for a weekend visit in January.

“She got there Friday evening, and I fed her and the kids, and she just lay down and went to sleep,” Simpkins recalled. “And then on Saturday, she was telling me that she didn’t feel like she would see her 30th birthday.”

Simpkins questioned why Ware didn’t believe she’d make it to the milestone just two months away, but her daughter refused to say more.

A selfie of Alexis Ware

Alexis Ware Goes Missing

On Sunday afternoon, Ware was back at her Greenville apartment and told her mother in what would turn out to be their final video chat that she was tired and planned to take a nap. That conversation occurred at about 3 p.m.

But investigators would later uncover surveillance footage from Jan. 30 — the same day she had returned home — showing Ware meeting TJ Patterson, the father of her 2-year-old son, around 7:30 p.m. at a gas station off Highway 29 in Anderson, South Carolina, which was about 40 miles from her home.

It appeared that Ware met Patterson to hand off her son and her 9-year-old daughter, although her mom says she never mentioned this gas station meeting to her.

“Unfortunately, a lot of the video was actually blocked by a tractor trailer that comes into view. But you can see that they’re both in their separate vehicles and it doesn’t appear any struggle or anything that’s going on that’s bad,” said Anderson County Sheriff’s Sgt. Jeff Finley.

Finley said Patterson later told investigators that Ware had been planning to follow him to his mom’s house. Surveillance footage shows both cars leaving the parking lot and going in the same direction, but then Ware’s vehicle suddenly speeds up and drives away from Patterson.

“The only story we have really to go off of is her child’s father,” Ware’s brother Travis Ware told Canning. “And I don’t feel that he physically did any harm to her. But I do feel that he knows more than what he has said.”

Patterson declined to be interviewed for the podcast.

Ware’s car was later spotted at an apartment complex in Anderson “a couple times” that same night, but Finley declined to go into further details.

No persons of interest have been named in the case and Anderson said they are “pursuing all possibilities.”

Have There Been Any Alexis Ware Updates?

In January 2023, the Anderson County Sheriff's Office stated that TJ Patterson was no longer being considered a person of interest. 

"Several avenues suggest he had no involvement in the mother of two’s disappearance," a sheriff's office news release stated, according to local station WYFF.

But they've had no luck finding Ware. 

"To date multiple agencies, including SLED, have combed through miles of terrain by air support, K9 and cadaver units, and search and rescue teams," the release said. "Countless hours of interrogating, interviewing and investigating continue to uncover invaluable information as recently as last week. We unfortunately receive hundreds of false tips that detectives must take time to eliminate. These pranks not only waste resources but give the family a helpless feeling. We appreciate any concrete, factual information from the community and ask for compassion toward Alexis’ family."

Simpkins, for her part, didn't believe Patterson was involved. She keeps coming back to the conversations she had with her daughter that weekend, when she said she was afraid that she was being followed and was getting those incessant phone calls.

“I’ve been racking my brain, trying to figure out what could have happened to my child,” she said. “You know, it’s a lot of rumors and speculations going on … but I’m just wondering if it was a stalker.”

At the time she disappeared, Ware had been planning to move with her children to Atlanta to open up a boutique and start a better life for her children. She also had an active presence on social media to highlight her passion for modeling and fashion, but Ware had told her mother she had been disturbed about getting unsolicited messages from what she called “creepy men.”

Ware’s red 2019 Honda Accord was found abandoned on Feb. 2 along a dirt road in a heavily wooded area in McCormick County, about an hour’s drive from that Anderson apartment complex. A black hair bonnet that Ware had been wearing that night was found near the vehicle.  Her cell phone, purse, and a bag of clothes had also been left inside the vehicle.

“You instantly kind of gravitate towards maybe some foul play was involved, but as of yet, nothing has been found,” Finley said.

Simpkins, then referred to as Alberta Gray, told The State that investigators told her they were able to get prints off the vehicle, which had been covered in mud, but they have not said whether the prints matched to Ware or anyone else. 

Months later Simpkins is still desperate to find her daughter, who was last seen wearing a black jacket, gray jogging pants, and a black hair bonnet.

“Lord, I miss my child every day,” she said. “I keep asking God to send me a clue. Help me. Sometimes I sit in the car by myself, away from the kids, and I just have my moments—just racking my brains trying to figure out what happened.”

Anyone with information about the case is urged to contact the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office at 864-260-4405 or submit a tip through CrimeStoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.

For more on this case and others like it, tune into the podcast “Dateline: Missing In America,” which is available for free on Apple Podcasts, Amazon, Google PodcastsStitcher, Spotify, and TuneIn. New episodes drop weekly on Tuesdays.

Originally published Aug 22, 2022.