September 19, 2019
UPDATE, Sep. 20: Officials bumped the reward to $35,000 on Friday for information leading to the whereabouts of Dulce Maria Alavez, the five-year-old girl who went missing Monday.
Authorities said the search radius was expanded Friday by 1.5 miles, but there hasn't been any sign of the five-year-old, who is believed to have been kidnapped near the Bridgeton City Park.
ORIGINAL STORY, Sep. 19: Authorities are offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the whereabouts of Dulce Maria Alavez, the five-year-old girl who went missing Monday afternoon at a park in Bridgeton.
Officials and family members gathered Thursday afternoon as the search continued for a fourth day.
New Jersey State Police issued an Amber Alert on Tuesday night, providing details about a suspected kidnapper who may have taken the girl away in a red van.
Alavez was last seen at Bridgeton City Park, where she and her three-year-old brother went to play together while her mother remained in the car with another child.
Not long before the suspected abduction, Alavez was seen with her mother at a local store where she got ice cream.
She was happy picking out an ice cream and playing with her family. Police say this was right before she went to the park and was snatched by a man in a red van. Amber Alert continues for 5 yr old Dulce Maria Alavez in the yellow shirt. @NBCPhiladelphia at 11pm. pic.twitter.com/RngMqecvHD— Aaron Baskerville (@ABaskerville10) September 19, 2019
Alavez's grandmother, Norma Pérez, pleaded with the largely immigrant community in Cumberland County during a press conference on Thursday.
"Please, if you know something that will help us find my granddaughter, don’t be afraid of the police,"Pérez said. "Please report what you know to the police."
The girl's mother, Noema Alavez Perez, feared Wednesday that her boyfriend, who is not Dulce's father, had been taken into ICE custody in Newark after speaking with police about the disappearance, according to NJ.com. Pérez urged the community to work with police to find her granddaughter.
Investigators described the suspect as a light-skinned, possibly Hispanic male about 5-foot-6-inches tall. He has a thin build, no facial hair and facial acne, police said.
Anyone with information about Alavez's whereabouts is asked to contact Bridgeton police at (856) 451-0033.