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NYPD uses mannequins in hopes of finding missing children

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SOHO, Manhattan -- Milk cartons to help find missing children may have just been replaced -- by mannequins.

The NYPD is using mannequins as part of a Missing Persons Squad initiative to help find missing children, starting with a boy who has been missing for six years.

Sculptors used photographs of Patrick Alford at age seven to create a three-dimensional model of how he might appear at 13.

Sculptors used photographs of Patrick Alford at age seven to create a three-dimensional model of how he might appear at 13.

Patrick Alford, Jr. disappeared from his foster home in East New York on Jan. 22, 2010 when he just just 7 years old, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

Now, a plaster replica of the boy, his face molded to look like what the boy might look like now at age 13, is on display in the window of SoHo boutique. The mannequin dons a red shirt -- like the one he was wearing the day he disappeared.

His mother still has hope her child will be found.

"He use to sit in this chair and play his game. This is his sneakers. I want him to know that I'm looking for him and never going to give up on him," said his mom, Jennifer Rodriguez.

The mannequin will remain at the K-Way, a European sportswear shop, at 424 W. Broadway, until mid-May, and officials hope someone will recognize his face and come forward with answers.

The idea for the mannequins was developed by both the NYPD Missing Persons Squad and advertising firm BBDO. The mannequin of Alford was made by sculptures from Standard Transmission using drawings from the NYPD Missing Persons Squad as a guide.

For future cases, police hope to add more mannequins of other missing children in businesses across the tri-state in hopes they will be found safe.

If you recognize the child's face or have information, visit Invisible Faces webpage or 1 (800) 577-TIPS.