BRIDGETON, N.J. (CBS) — The family of missing 5-year-old Dulce Maria Alavez is desperate to have her back home after police say she was abducted from a park in Bridgeton on Monday afternoon. An Amber Alert was issued for Dulce on Tuesday night.
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Police say Dulce’s mother, 19-year-old Noema Alavez Perez, is cooperating with police and the girl’s father is not in the United States. While police cannot rule out that a person Dulce knows took her, the family is asking people not to jump to any conclusions at this heart-wrenching time.
Dulce’s aunt, Nayiber Alavez Perez, says the accusations on social media that the family is involved in the abduction are wrong and untrue.
UPDATE Aunt of missing 5yo from Bridgeton, NJ #DulceAlavez says rumors her family is involved in the girl’s suspected abduction are untrue. Police say the girl’s mom is cooperating and the father is not in the U-S. pic.twitter.com/yypmowO6Jh
— Cleve Bryan CBS3 (@CleveBryan) September 18, 2019
“Well, it’s really much more harder for us because they’re judging us that we have something to do with it, when we don’t. We might not show emotion or things like that but it’s because we’re trying to be strong for her. We just want her back home,” Alavez Perez said.
She says every hour that passes while her niece is missing is torture.
“We as a family, we feel really sad and really bad for not finding my niece. We don’t know who took her, who’s with her, how she is doing and everything. The only thing we’re trying to do is find her,” Alavez Perez said.
Dulce was last seen between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. Monday at the Bridgeton City Park playground. She was with her 3-year-old brother while her mother was in her car with another family member about 50 yards away.
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Police conducted a full-scale search of the park and nearby waterways in the first 30 hours after the girl’s disappearance. At the same time, detectives launched a criminal investigation which led them to conclude the girl was abducted.
“We don’t have any solid suspects,” Bridgeton Police Chief Michael Gaimari said. “We’re investigating all the possibilities.”
Police were able to get enough information to issue an Amber Alert by tracking down people who had been hanging around the basketball courts near the area where Dulce disappeared. At least one person was able to provide details about a possible kidnapper.
“We were able to locate those witnesses through the department’s body cams and MVRs and we were able to relocate those witnesses and we’re still continuing to locate witnesses,” Gaimari said.
Police say the possible kidnapper is a light-skinned, possibly Hispanic, man who stands 5-foot-6 to 5-foot-8 with a thin build. He has no facial hair but does have acne.
Police say he was last seen wearing orange sneakers, red pants and a black shirt. He was driving a red van with a sliding door and tinted windows.
Dulce was last seen wearing a yellow shirt with an elephant, black and white pants, and white shoes.MORE NEWS: Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules Mask Mandate For K-12 Schools Remains For Now
If you have any information, please call police at 856-451-0033 or text anonymously to TIP411.