US

Reward Increases to $52,000 in Search for 5-Year-Old

By Zusmee Byamba

The search for a 5-year-old girl who disappeared from Bridgeton City Park in New Jersey continues, and local State Police unions have announced they are offering an additional $10,000 to the reward, raising the reward total to $52,000, according to NBC 10 News.

“In the absence of physical evidence indicating that Dulce has been physically harmed, we remain hopeful and continue to act under the premise that she is alive,” County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae said.

On Wednesday, Bridgeton Chief of Police Michael Gaimiri announced the additional reward.

According to Gaimari, the additional $10,000 reward came from Unions within the New Jersey State Police and the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police, each offering $5,000. Two unknown donors also contributed $1,000 each.

Dulce María disappeared on Sept. 16 from Bridgeton City Park where she was playing with her 3-year-old-brother, NBC 10 News reports. Their mother, Noema Alavez Pérez, was 30 yards away from the playground, sitting in her car with an 8-year-old relative.

She told NBC 10 News that the playground was visible from the car, but the swing set was hidden by a small hill. When Alavez Pérez went to the playground, she only found her three-year-old son, crying. Her daughter Dulce María was nowhere to be found.

That is when she called 911.

Since her disappearance, more than 300 federal, state, and local officers continue their search for Dulce María by land, sea, and air, and more than 50 legal processes have been served in the case, according to the news.

They also expanded the search beyond the state of New Jersey and added the girl to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s “Most Wanted” list of kidnapping victims.

“You cannot imagine what we are going through,” Dulce Mariá’s grandmother said in a statement. “Please help our family, I beg of you.”

Dulce Maria’s mother begged neighbors in Bridgeton to keep searching.

“Please keep passing along her picture on social media and passing out flyers. Don’t be afraid to call any tips. If you were here in the park that day, please double check your phone for pictures — any little bit may help,” Alavez Pérez said.

At the time of her disappearance, Dulce María wore a yellow shirt, black and white checkered pants with a flower design and white dress sandals. She has dark brown hair that was tied into a ponytail, police said. She stands around 3 feet, 5 inches tall.

Authorities previously asked the community to take note if they have noticed anyone that has changed their routine, has changed their physical appearance, or has left town recently without explanation.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Bridgeton City Police Department at 856-451-0033.