Search continues for Dulce Maria Alavez nearly 5 months after disappearance; $75K reward offered
BRIDGETON, N.J. - Law enforcement officials from various agencies continue their search for a 5-year-old girl who they say was abducted from a Cumberland County park in mid-September.
Dulce Maria Alavez vanished from Bridgeton City Park after playing on the swings with her 3-year-old brother.
On Sept. 16, Alavez's mother was sitting in her car 30 yards away with an 8-year-old relative. Her 3-year-old son 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.
Sunday's search will begin at 10:30 a.m. outside the Buckshutem School, where Dulce attended kindergarten. Organizers are asking volunteers to bring shovels and rakes in an effort to scour the area.
Alavez vanished from Bridgeton City Park on Sept. 16.
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Officials have exercised different strategies to find her including helicopter searches, volunteer searches, media specialist, a dive team, sonar and teams of dogs searching.
Police describe Alavez as 3-foot-5 with a medium build and dark-colored hair. She was last seen wearing a yellow shirt, black and white checkered pants with a floral design and white sandals.
A $75,000 reward has been offered for information leading to Alavez's return. Officials urge potential witnesses that authorities are not concerned with immigration status and are focused on information surrounding Alavez's disappearance.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the Bridgeton City Police Department at 856-451-0033.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.