At least $35,000 is being offered as a reward for Dulce Maria Alavez, 5, who authorities say may have been abducted Monday from a playground in New Jersey.
Dulce Maria Alavez, may have been taken by a light-skinned, possibly Hispanic male, the Bridgeton Police department said Tuesday in announcing an Amber Alert. The possible suspect is described as between 5-foot-6 and 5-foot-8, with a thin build, no facial hair and acne on his face. He was wearing orange sneakers, red pants and a black shirt, police said.
The man drove off Monday with Dulce in a red van with tinted windows and a sliding passenger side door, the alert says.
Dulce was last seen wearing a yellow shirt with a koala bear on the front, black and white checkered long pants with a flower design, and white sandals, police said. She is 3-foot-5 and weighs 40 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.
Family spokesman: I believe she is alive
Her family held a vigil Saturday night at the park where she was last seen, CNN affiliate KYW reported.
People could be seen wearing yellow shirts and holding candles.
A man spoke on behalf of the family saying in part, officers are “working around the clock” to find Dulce.
“Dulce will be found. I truly believe in my heart she is alive somewhere,” the man said.
She was playing on the swings
Officers responded to the Bridgeton city park’s ball fields and playground area for a report of a missing child at about 4:50 p.m. Monday. The girl’s mother told police that Dulce was playing on swings with her 3-year-old brother as the mother remained about 30 yards away in her vehicle with an 8-year-old relative, police said.
The mother told police she observed the 3-year-old return to her vehicle without his sister, and she was unable to locate her daughter, police said.
The Amber Alert was issued after police interviewed and re-interviewed people who were in Bridgeton’s city park near the ball fields on Monday afternoon, Bridgeton Police Chief Michael Gaimari said Tuesday.
Police searched with more than 50 officers from agencies across the county, city and state. A waterway also was drained by city workers to help in the search, Gaimari said. Law enforcement have searched the city park by helicopter, with divers, K-9s and sonar, and the search continues.
Anyone with tips or information should call 1-800-CALL-FBI, police said.
The FBI said it was contributing $5,000 to the reward money, which as of Saturday was at $35,000 total.