Massive search for Dulce Maria Alavez continues Friday; $25K reward offered

BRIDGETON, N.J. - Law enforcement officials from various agencies gathered at a Bridgeton, New Jersey park Friday morning to continue their search for an 5-year-old girl they say was abducted Monday.

The search for Dulce Maria Alavez started at Bridgeton City Park Friday morning, where it all began earlier this week.

Search crews have been scouring the park in Cumberland County after Alavez disappeared while playing on the swings with her 3-year-old brother Monday afternoon.

The children's mother was sitting in her car 30 yards away with an 8-year-old relative. The 3-year-old returned to the car without Alavez.

Investigators say Alavez was lured into the back seat of a red van by a male suspect who has been described as 5-foot-6 to 5-foot-8, with a thin build and acne on his face. He was wearing orange sneakers, red pants and a black shirt at the time of the reported abduction.

Thursday, her grandmother made a public plea for help.

“Please if you have any information, help us find my granddaughter. Do not be afraid of the police. We have not been able to eat nor sleep. You cannot imagine what we are going through. We are very sad. Please help our family, I beg of you,” Dulce’s grandmother stated.

Officials have exercised different strategies to find her include helicopter search, volunteer searches, media specialist, a dive team, sonar, and teams of dogs searching. Police described Alavez as 3-foot-5 with a medium build and dark-colored hair.

Alavez was last seen wearing a yellow shirt, black and white checkered pants with a floral design and white sandals.

Altogether, $25,000 has been contributed in a reward for any information regarding the whereabouts of Dulce or the identification of any persons of interests related to the case.

The FBI has contributed $5,000 towards the total sum of the reward while the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Officer contributed $5,000.

Additionally, Newfield National Bank has offered $10,000 reward.

Tortilleria El Paisano, a local tortilla shop, was the first to put $5,000 towards the reward for information leading to Alavez.