What to know about the Dulce Alavez case; hunt for missing Bridgeton girl in second week
A vigil was held Saturday night at a Bridgeton baseball field adjacent to a playground where 5-year-old Dulce Maria Alavez went missing. Adam Monacelli, Vineland Daily Journal
BRIDGETON – A week after her disappearance, investigators are hoping the public has information that would bring Dulce Maria Alavez home.
Law enforcement officials are asking anyone who was at City Park or nearby on Sept. 16 when the 5-year-old went missing to come forward with any photographs or videos they took that day.
Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae on Monday also said the FBI has set up a web link where people can send those images directly. That link is available at http://www.fbi.gov/alavez
“Their media may contain information which seems innocuous to them but is a valuable piece of the puzzle in helping us bring Dulce home to her family,” Webb-McRae stated.
Anyone can call the FBI at 1 (800) CALL-FBI, followed by hitting option 4 and then option 8.
Webb-McRae said Bridgeton police, her staff, the New Jersey State Police Missing Persons Unit, and FBI agents were working on the case over the weekend.
The last briefing was Friday afternoon, with the prosecutor and city police Chief Michael Gaimari asking residents to continue forwarding any information they think could be helpful.
They also promised that investigators had no interest in the immigration status of anyone contacting them.
Cumberland County and Bridgeton authorities on Friday pressed for tips on where 5-year-old Dulce Maria Alavez might be as a reward hits $35,000. Joseph P. Smith, The Daily Journal
There is an aggregate award of $35,000 for information leading to her recovery.
Here's what is known about the case right now:
Who is Dulce?
Dulce Maria Alavez is a 5-year-old Bridgeton resident. She was born on April 25, 2014 and has a younger brother. She is white/Hispanic with long brown hair and brown eyes, is about 60 to 70 pounds, and about 3 feet tall.
She was wearing a yellow shirt with a koala bear on the front, black and white pants with butterflies and flowers, and white dress sandals.
Bridgeton police were sent to City Park on Mayor Aitken Drive about 4:50 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 16 to investigate a report of a missing child.
The mother told police the girl and her 3-year-old brother had been playing on a swing set. The mother said she was in her vehicle about 30 yards away along with an 8-year-old relative.
Her son came back to the vehicle without his sister, who then could not be found. The area, including a canal, came under a growing search effort Monday and through Tuesday.
Tuesday night, state police issued a missing person notice.
Local searches have continued but at the same time the investigation has developed information indicating the girl may have been abducted.
Is there a suspect?
Authorities want to find a man witnesses describe as light-skinned, possibly Hispanic, about 5-foot-6 to 5-foot-8. The man is thin, has no facial hair, and has acne on his face. He was wearing orange sneakers, red pants, and a black shirt. He may be driving a red van or SUV.
Who to contact with information?
There are multiple ways to contact the investigation, directly and indirectly.
Search crews look for a missing 5-year-old girl behind Bridgeton High School and near the Cohanzick Zoo on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019. Adam Monacelli, Vineland Daily Journal
Contact the FBI toll-free tip line at 1 (800) CALL-FBI (numerically, 1 800-225-5324), then select option 4, then option 8.
Text information to TIP 11, subtext Bridgeton.
Outside the county, officials suggest contacting the nearest United States embassy or consulate.
Joe Smith is a Philly native transplanted to South Jersey more than 30 years ago. He is a former editor and current senior staff writer at The Daily Journal in Vineland. Have a news tip? Reach out at (856) 563-5252 or email@example.com or follow me on Twitter, @jpsmith-dj. Help support local journalism with a subscription to The Daily Journal.
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