On September 16, 2019, Dulce Maria Alavez, age 5, was last seen in Bridgeton, New Jersey. She vanished from Bridgeton City Park and it is presumed that she was abducted.
Details of Disappearance
Dulce Maria Alavez and her 3-year-old brother Manuel were swinging at Bridgeton City Park on Burt Street in the afternoon of 16 September 2019. The park is located behind Bridgeton High School.
Their mother, Noema Alavez Perez, was sitting in her car approximately 30 yards away helping her younger sister with her homework when the 3-year-old returned to the car around 4:30 p.m. without Dulce, crying because he did not know where she had gone.
Perez, fearing her daughter had been abducted, called family members to assist in the search and then dialed 911 to report her daughter as missing.
Investigation of Dulce
More than one hundred police officers participated in a search party that combed the nearby woods for Dulce, but found no trace of her.
Others at the park informed Dulce’s mother that a man had approached Dulce and Manuel while they ate ice cream in the park. Manuel’s ice cream was reportedly thrown to the ground, while Dulce fled.
According to witnesses, Dulce was possibly abducted by a light-skinned male, possibly Hispanic, driving a red van with tinted windows. He is 5’7 tall, 30 to 35 years old, of thin build, and has acne on his face. At the time of the alleged abduction, he was dressed in orange sneakers, red pants, and a black shirt.
The day following Dulce’s disappearance, an Amber Alert was issued naming the unidentified man in the red van as a suspect in her disappearance.
A month later, on 15 October 2019, police released a composite sketch of the suspect based on the testimony of a second witness. The witness stated that the man was driving a red van and was accompanied by one or two children under the age of five. According to reports, he was dressed in a white t-shirt, blue jeans, and a white baseball cap.
Dulce was placed on the FBI’s “Most Wanted” list of kidnapped and missing children one week after her disappearance.
Police questioned Dulce’s father, who resides in Mexico, and he has repeatedly denied any involvement in her disappearance. He has been ruled out as a suspect in her disappearance.
During a 2019 appearance on the Dr. Phil show, Dulce’s mother discussed the suspicion surrounding her family and revealed that she was given a polygraph test as part of the investigation. She also stated that she believed an old friend was responsible for her daughter’s disappearance, although police later stated there was insufficient evidence to implicate the person she named.
In 2020, Bridgeton Police and social media were informed of a false report that Alavez’s body had been discovered. The rumor spread after police in Austintown, Ohio searched an area based on an unfounded tip. Investigators discovered no trace of Dulce in the area.
Cumberland County prosecutors and the National Center For Missing & Exploited Children released age progression photos of Dulce in 2021 in an effort to elicit tips from the public regarding possible sightings.
Whereabouts of Dulce
Dulce Maria Alavez’s location and circumstances surrounding her disappearance are unknown.
In her case, police have not identified any suspects. The FBI is offering a $75,000 reward for information leading to her discovery.
Hispanic female with brown eyes and black hair, born on April 25, 2015. Her height and weight at the time of her disappearance were 1 metre and 40 pounds.
The last time she was seen, she was wearing a yellow shirt with an elephant on the front, black and white pants with flowers and butterflies on them, and white sandals.
If you have any information regarding the disappearance of Dulce Maria Alavez please contact the Bridgeton Police Department at (856) 451-0033.
A $75,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to an arrest in Dulce’s case.
Resources & Further Information
The Disappearance of Dulce Maria Alavez – Wikipedia
Dulce Maria Alavez – NamUS
Help Bring Dulce Maria Alavez Home – Facebook
Inside the Chilling Disappearance of 5 Year Old Dulce Maria Alavez – All Thats Interesting