On September 16, 2019, Dulce Maria Alavez, 5, went missing from a park in Bridgeton, New Jersey. She has never been located. Investigators believe she has been abducted.
Dulce Alavez, 5, lived in Bridgeton, New Jersey with her mother Noema Alavez Perez and younger brother Manuel, 8. At the time of Dulce’s disappearance, Noema was 4 months pregnant; the father was her current boyfriend. Dulce’s biological father was deported to Mexico in late 2018.
Between 4:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. police believe someone abducted Dulce. Manuel could not find his sister, which made him cry and go find his mother to tell her. Noema started looking for her daughter in the immediate area for about 15 minutes. Noema then called her brother, who helped look. Around 4:48 p.m. Noema called 911 to report that her daughter was missing.
Day of Disappearance
Noema took Dulce, Manuel, and her younger sister, 7, to get some ice cream before going to the park. They went to the Bridgeton City Park, so the children could play. Noema was sitting in her car, helping her younger sister complete her homework and scratching a lottery ticket. Dulce and her brother ran from the park to the swing area, where they became out of sight of the car.
Police arrived and immediately started searching for Dulce. People who were in the park were interviewed. Some had seen the children playing, but saw nothing suspicious. A search team started looking in the nearby woods. The search would go until late into the evening and resumed the following morning around 7:00 a.m.
On September 17, 2019, New Jersey State Police issued an Amber Alert, stating she may have been abducted. The description of the suspect was a light-skinned, possibly Hispanic male, approximately 5’6” to 5’8”, who was driving a red van with sliding doors and tinted windows.
According to the FBI, they believe the offender may have been looking for a child of a specific age or gender and waited for the opportunity.
ICE detained Noema’s current boyfriend and questioned him, but he was released without any charges. Police have contacted Dulce’s father in Mexico to speak with him about his daughter’s disappearance. Investigators also have searched Noema’s phone, which they have back to her. None of Dulce’s family members have formally been named a suspect.
Dulce was last seen wearing a yellowing shirt with a koala on the front, black and white pants with butterflies on them.
Police have not announced any leads since releasing the sketch of a suspect.
Police have released photo progressions of what they believe Dulce may look like more recently.
If you have any information, contact the FBI’s Tipline at 1-800-225-5324 and select option 4, then select option 8. You can also text your information to TIP411.
Police have set up a website for people to submit photos or videos from Bridgeton City Park on September 16, 2019.
Investigators are actively following leads.