The search continues today for a missing 19-year-old Ringgold woman who was last seen with her boyfriend in East Ridge, Tenn., late Friday evening.
Authorities in East Ridge and neighboring counties are looking for Marissa Patterson, whose parents say she hasn't been seen or heard from since a phone call shortly before 11 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 2.
"We really appreciate all the media coverage over the past couple of days," said Marissa's father Bobby Patterson. "We have had some leads and the Catoosa County Sheriff's Office and the East Ridge (Tenn.) police are following up on them, but we don't know anything concrete at this time."
Marissa's family and friend began to worry late Friday night when the teen was not where she claimed she'd be, and her car was found unattended with the keys still in it.
“The last time any of us heard from her was during a phone conversation Friday night,” said Marissa's father Bobby Patterson. “Her older sister was going to go pick her up at the Walgreen's in East Ridge, but Marissa wasn't there when her sister got there.”
Upon arrival at the Walgreen's store, Marissa's car was found parked behind the store with the keys, but no sign of her.
The vehicle had reportedly been involved in an accident in Fort Oglethorpe earlier in the evening.
Family members believe that Marissa is with her boyfriend, Robert Morris, and that he may have been the one driving her car during the wreck that occurred before her disappearance.
Marissa's father said attempts to contact Marissa and Morris have been unsuccessful since the last conversation she had with family.
“We've tried calling her cell phone and it started going straight to voicemail right after her sister went to pick her up and couldn't find her,” Patterson said. “We also tried calling Robert's phone and it rang for about an hour after hers quit, then it started going straight to voicemail too.”
Patterson said Marissa and Robert began dating in July.
Although Marissa lives with her parents in the Woodstation area of Ringgold, and her disappearance occurred in East Ridge, Tenn., her family and friends have exhausted their efforts to both areas and beyond.
“We started looking for her as soon as she wasn't at the Walgreen's,” Patterson said. “We waited the 24 hours, then filed reports with East Ridge police, the Catoosa County Sheriff's Office, and in Hamilton County too. We just want to get everybody around here involved in the search, and we want to do everything we can to find her.”
Friends and family members have distributed fliers around the area, in addition to creating a Facebook page, “Marissa Patterson Missing,” that has already accumulated nearly 4,000 “likes” in less than 48 hours of existence.
"It's so sad to hear about a young, beautiful, talented girl missing," said Fort Oglethorpe resident Macy Parker. "I've been praying for her family since I first heard about it, and I hope that they find her as soon and as safe as possible."
The "Marissa Patterson Missing" Facebook page posted a status update at approximately 10:30 a.m. Tuesday morning encouraging users not to reveal any tips, sightings, or information regarding Marissa on the page, but to instead contact police or Marissa's parents directly.
"The worst thing that could happen would be for someone to use social media as a way to stay one step ahead, which is very possible in a missing person case," the post read.
Marissa Patterson, a graduate of Heritage High School, is described as 5 feet, 9 inches tall and weighing 220 pounds with brown hair and hazel eyes.
Robert Morris, 24, is described as 5 feet, 11 inches tall with brown hair and brown eyes.
Anyone with information regarding the disappearance or the whereabouts of Marissa Patterson is encouraged to contact the East Ridge Police Department at 423-622-1725, the Catoosa Count Sheriff's Office at 706-935-2424, or Patterson's parents at 423-504-6789.