$35,000 Reward Offered for 5-Year-Old Girl Who May Have Been Abducted From a Playground in New Jersey

Wire Service
By Wire Service
September 20, 2019USshare
$35,000 Reward Offered for 5-Year-Old Girl Who May Have Been Abducted From a Playground in New Jersey
Dulce Maria Alavez, 5, who authorities say may have been abducted from a playground in New Jersey. (Bridgeton Police Department)

A $35,000 reward has been offered for Dulce Maria Alavez, 5, who authorities say may have been abducted Monday from a playground in New Jersey.

Dulce Maria Alavez, may have been taken by a light-skinned, possibly Hispanic male, the Bridgeton Police department said Tuesday in announcing an Amber Alert.

The possible suspect is described as between 5-foot-6 and 5-foot-8, with a thin build, no facial hair and acne on his face. He was wearing orange sneakers, red pants and a black shirt, police said.

The man drove off Monday with Dulce in a red van with tinted windows and a sliding passenger side door, the alert says.

Dulce was last seen wearing a yellow shirt with a koala bear on the front, black and white checkered long pants with a flower design, and white sandals, police said. She is 3-foot-5 and weighs 40 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.

Dulce Maria Alavez1
Dulce Maria Alavez, 5, in a surveillance image from the day she went missing. (Bridgeton Police Department)

The FBI contributed $5,000 toward the reward for information leading to Dulce or the identification of someone involved in her disappearance. The Cumberland County Prosecutor’s office offered another $5,000, and the Newfield National Bank is contributing $10,000 to the reward, officials said. The New Jersey State Police Benevolent Association announced Friday that it is contributing $10,000 to the reward.

Anyone with tips or information should call 1-800-CALL-FBI, police said.

Waterway Drained in Search for Girl

Officers responded to the Bridgeton city park’s ball fields and playground area for a report of a missing child at about 4:50 p.m. Monday.

The girl’s mother told police that Dulce was playing on swings with her 3-year-old brother as the mother remained about 30 yards away in her vehicle with an 8-year-old relative, police said.

The mother told police she observed the 3-year-old return to her vehicle without his sister, and she was unable to locate her daughter, police said.

The Amber Alert was issued after police interviewed and re-interviewed people who were in Bridgeton’s city park near the ball fields on Monday afternoon, Bridgeton Police Chief Michael Gaimari said Tuesday.

Police searched with more than 50 officers from agencies across the county, city and state. A waterway also was drained by city workers to help in the search, Gaimari said. Law enforcement have searched the city park by helicopter, with divers, K-9s and sonar, and the search continues.

Dulce Alvavez was abducted on Sept. 16, 2019. (National Center for Missing & Exploited Children)

Gaimari said police are probing the possible involvement of family members.

“Anytime that we have something like this … there’s a lot of reported child abductions that turn out to be family members or children that were involved in some type of custody dispute,” he said.

“I’m not saying that’s the case here at all. However, it’s something that the police have to investigate. Sometimes tough questions have to be asked during an interview. People take offense to that because they feel you are implicating a family member or a significant other, but they’re just questions we have to clear up.”

The girl’s grandmother offered a plea for help Thursday through tears.

“Do not be afraid of the police. We have not been able to eat nor sleep. You can’t imagine what we are going through. We are very sad,” she said through a translator.

Epoch Times reporter Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.

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