Officials, family appeal to public in search for Dulce Maria Alavez; reward increases to $30K
BRIDGETON, N.J. - An Amber Alert remains in effect for Dulce Maria Alavez, the 5-year-old girl who police believe was lured from a Bridgeton, New Jersey park earlier this week.
As the investigation continues in the nearly five days since police say a stranger lured Alavez into the back of his red van at the Bridgeton City Park around 4:20 p.m., officials and Alavez's grandmother addressed the media Thursday afternoon.
With FBI officials joining the search, Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae announced that investigators are exhausting all avenues in order to find Dulce and bring her home safely.
“Please if you have any information, help us find my granddaughter. Do not be afraid of the police. We have not been able to eat nor sleep. You cannot imagine what we are going through. We are very sad. Please help our family, I beg of you,” Dulce’s grandmother stated.
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Officials are exercising different strategies to find her include helicopter search, volunteer searches, media specialist, a dive team, sonar, and teams of dogs searching.
"No detail is too small, no detail is too insignificant,” McRae emphasized in her plea for the public's help. "You may not even realize that this information is important."
The suspect is 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.
Search crews have been scouring the park in Cumberland County after Alavez disappeared while playing on the swings with her 3-year-old brother Monday afternoon.
The children's mother was sitting in her car 30 yards away with an 8-year-old relative. The 3-year-old returned to the car without Alavez.
Dulce Maria Alavez was last seen near Bridgeton City Park on Monday afternoon.
Investigators say Alavez was seated in the back seat of the van when it drove away.
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Bridgeton Police say they have been attempting to contact the girl’s father, who lives in Mexico, as they explore every possibility.
Police described Alavez as 3-foot-5 with a medium build and dark-colored hair.
Alavez was last seen wearing a yellow shirt, black and white checkered pants with a floral design and white sandals.
Several organizations and local busineses have contributed in a reward for any information regarding the whereabouts of Dulce or the identification of any persons of interests related to the case.
The FBI has contributed $5,000 towards the total sum of the reward while the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Officer contributed $5,000.
Additionally, Newfield National Bank has offered $10,000 reward.
Tortilleria El Paisano, a local tortilla shop, was the first to put $5,000 towards the reward for information leading to Alavez.
New Jersey Police Benevolent Association Friday announced they contributed $5,000 towards the reward to push the total to $30,000.