BRIDGETON, N.J. - A 5-year-old girl believed to have been kidnapped from a Cumberland County park last week has been placed on the FBI's Most Wanted list of missing or kidnapped persons.
Dulce Maria Alavez disappeared Sept. 16 from a playground at Bridgeton City Park. The girl and her 3-year-old brother were playing while their mother sat in her car with an 8-year-old relative.
The mother told police her son soon ran back to the car crying and pointed to the area where he last saw his sister. They looked but could not locate her.
An Amber Alert was issued the following day. Authorities believe the girl was taken by a man who led her to a red van. The suspect has been described as 5-foot-6 to 5-foot-8, with a thin build and acne on his face. He was wearing orange sneakers, red pants and a black shirt at the time of the reported abduction.
Several hundred people gathered at Bridgeton City Park to pray for Alavez, who was last seen in the same park on Sept. 16.
Family, friends and supporters gathered Saturday night for a vigil at Bridgeton City Park, where Alavez disappeared. Supporters lit candles, prayed, sang hymns and wore yellow, the color that Dulce was wearing when she went missing. A pastor prayed the girl's abductor would "send this baby home."
Investigators on Tuesday confirmed they have been in contact with Alavez's father in Mexico, but revealed no other details about the investigation, according to NJ.com.
There's a $35,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.
"You cannot imagine what we are going through," Dulce’s grandmother said in a statement. "Please help our family, I beg of you."
Anyone with information is urged to contact the FBI's toll-free tipline at 1-800-225-5324, and select option 4, then select option 8. Information can also be texted to TIP411. Anyone with photos or videos from Bridgeton City Park on Sept. 16 can upload them to the FBI's dedicated website.