Things That Matter

The Family Of A Missing 5-Year-Old Girl Is Officially Taking Action Into Their Own Hands To Search For Her

The family of Dulce Maria Alavez, a 5-year-old who may have been kidnapped from a park in Cumberland County, New Jersey over 5 weeks ago, plan to stage another massive search for her this weekend.

The little girl’s relatives have recruited volunteers to sweep the area around a 1,100 acre Bridgeton City Park. They will also go door to door passing out fliers. This will mark the third search organized by the family this month. The search will start at 9 AM on Sunday at the park’s baseball field.

Dulce’s family has not given up hope and have looked relentlessly for the little girl.

“We will never give up the hope that she will be found,” Norma Perez Alavez told the Philadelphia Inquirer in Spanish. 

The family hopes to comb new areas of the park in their search.

“We will be combing new areas,” said a family spokesperson. “We will be going door-to-door passing out fliers. We will never give up on you, Dulce Maria. And we are asking you, the public, not to give up on her.”

Police will not be involved in the search and no suspects have been identified in the girl’s disappearance. The New Jersey State Police Unions have announced that they will give an additional $10,000 reward, making the total reward for providing information about Dulce’s whereabouts, is now $52,000.

“They’re not blaming the police, they’re just upset there are no answers for them,” a spokeswoman said of the investigation. 

A previous search was organized by Will Rackley and Christine James — strangers to the family who decided to help. 

“My heart goes out to Dulce Alavez and I felt like doing something for her,” Rackley told NJ.com

The pair organized a group of searchers to comb the park last weekend. 

“This is a 5-year-old child that is missing that deserves to be with her family,” James said. “She deserves to grow up with her little brother. We have to do something.”

Dulce’s disappearance sparks public support.

Police say Dulce was kidnapped from Bridgeton Park by a man driving a red van on September 16. The man allegedly lured the 5-year-old into the sliding door on the passenger side of his the red vehicle with tinted windows. He drove away, leaving Dulce’s 3-year-old brother crying and pointing to the area where she had been. Their mother was approximately 30 yards away in her car helping her 8-year-old sister with her homework.

The man who kidnapped Dulce was described as between 5 feet 6 inches and 5 feet 9 inches tall, with a thin build and no facial hair. 

Authorities released a police sketch of a man they want to speak with. He is not a suspect. He is believed to be between 30 and 35 years old. He was described as wearing a white t-shirt, white baseball cap, and blue jeans.

‘He is simply a possible witness we want to speak with at this time,’ said Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae in a press release. 

Police release the 9-1-1 call placed by Dulce’s mother.

“Um, I can’t find my daughter,” said Noema Alavez Perez, Dulce’s mother, in a released 9-1-1 call. “We were there at the park … and people say that somebody … probably somebody took her.”

Noema said she found her son crying but could not find Dulce. People told the mother the little girl had been taken. 

“Me and my sister we came down, but when we got here, at the park, she wasn’t here,” she said. “They said somebody threw his ice cream on the floor and my daughter just ran away.” 

After receiving the call and a report that a man had led Dulce into the red van, police issued an amber alert. 

Police searches fail to find the missing girl.

Following Dulce’s disappearance, police began a search accompanied by K-9 units to comb Bridgeton Park. New Jersey State Police flew a helicopter overhead, while several boats surveyed a nearby canal.

Dulce was least seen wearing a yellow shirt, white sandals, and checkered pants. She has long black hair that was tied in a ponytail. CCTV footage showed Dulce buying ice cream with her mother, brother, and the mother’s little sister. According to the Dailymail, investigators suggested to Noema that a family member could have played a role in Dulce’s kidnapping. Noema and her mother vehemently deny the assertion.

Anyone with information should call the New Jersey State Police Missing Persons Unit at 609-882-2000, ext. 2554, or the Bridgeton police at 856-451-0033. Tips can also be phoned into: 1-800-CALL-FBI (select option 4, then select option 8).

Anonymous tips may also be sent by text to TIP411 with “Bridgeton” in the message line.

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