Amber Alert: $35K reward in search for missing 5-year-old girl who vanished from New Jersey park

Maggie Kent Image
Saturday, September 21, 2019
Amber Alert: $25K reward in search for missing 5-year-old girl who vanished from New Jersey park
ABC's John Rawlins has the latest on the missing girl in New Jersey.

BRIDGETON, New Jersey -- The reward for information leading to the whereabouts of a 5-year-old girl who has been missing for six days in Cumberland County, New Jersey has grown to $35,000.

The New Jersey State PBA has offered $10,000 to help find Dulce Maria Alavez, who was last seen in a Bridgeton park around 5 p.m. Monday. This is in addition to a previously announced $25,000 reward.

An Amber Alert remains in effect.

EXPLAINED:What are the criteria for issuing an Amber Alert?

Law enforcement extended their search by air and by ground on Friday near the area she was last seen.

"As this point in the investigation, we continue to follow all possibilities. We remain hopeful that we're going to find Dulce alive," said a person speaking for the Alavez family.

Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae pleaded for anyone, including undocumented immigrants, to come forward with information.

"If you are an undocumented immigrant, do not be concerned about your immigration status, we do not care about your immigration status, we need your info to bring Dulce home," said Webb-McRae.

On Thursday evening, the family of the young girl issued a plea to anyone who can help find Alavez.

WATCH: The family of Dulce Maria Alavez issued a plea

Grandmother of missing NJ girl pleads for help during a press conference on September 19, 2019.

"Please, if you have any information help us find my granddaughter. Do not be afraid of the police," said the child's grandmother through an interpreter. "We have not been able to eat nor sleep. You can't imagine what we are going through. We are very sad. Please help our family. I beg of you."

Earlier Thursday, investigators were at Bridgeton City Park with bloodhounds tracking the 5-year-old's scent. They picked up something for approximately an hour, but then lost it.

They also visited the family's home, too.

Police reiterated on Friday that the family has been very cooperative.

Video taken shortly before Dulce Maria Alavez disappeared shows the child stopped at a store to get ice cream with her mother and brother.

WATCH: Last images of Dulce Maria Alavez before she went missing

Surveillance video shows the last known images of Dulce Alavez before she went missing.

At the time, Alavez was wearing a yellow shirt, black and white checkered long pants with a flower design and white sandals.

Once at the park, Alavez's mother Noema Alavez Perez said her daughter was playing on the swings with her 3-year-old brother, while she remained in a car with an 8-year-old relative approximately 30 yards away.

According to the mother, the 3-year-old returned to the car without his sister and they were not able to locate her after.

"I went looking for her and couldn't find her and I called the cops," Alavez Perez said. "They were looking for her all night. The dogs were out here."

Authorities said they have reports Alavez was taken by a light-skinned, possibly Hispanic male, roughly 5-foot 6-inches tall. He was believed to be wearing orange sneakers, red pants and a black shirt at the time of the incident.

Police said the man led Alavez from the playground at the park to a red van with a sliding door and tinted windows. The man then allegedly fled with the girl.

It's unknown if the man knew the girl or her family.

AMBER ALERT NJ: Police looking into social media postings in search for missing New Jersey girl. Maggie Kent has more on Action News at 6 p.m. on September 18, 2019.

In a press conference Thursday, Webb-McRae said they are willing to expand beyond that theory and that the man's role may have been a possible witness.

"Our hope and expectation is that anyone who thinks that they saw anything that was remotely suspicious or could contribute to the return of Dulce to her family, we're asking them, we're appealing to them, we're encouraging them to come forward," Webb-McRae said.

WATCH: Amber Alert issued for missing Bridgeton, New Jersey girl

Amber Alert issued for missing Bridgeton, New Jersey girl. John Rawlins has more on Action News at 4 p.m. on September 18, 2019.

Dulce's aunt, Nayiber Alavez, said it's been very hard for the family.

"It's more harder for us because they're judging us that we had something to do with it -- when we don't," Nayiber Alavez said.

SEE ALSO: Bridgeton community joins in search for missing New Jersey girl

The abduction has left other residents, many of them immigrants, fearful for the safety of their children.

"The truth is, we are immigrants, workers who came here solely to work in this country and we don't feel safe that someone is stealing our children," said Efren Hernandez.

Anyone with information on her whereabouts should call the Bridgeton Police Department at 856-451-0033.


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