By Chanteé Lans


BRIDGETON, N.J. (CBS) — It has been nearly one week since 5-year-old Dulce Maria Alavez went disappeared from a park in Bridgeton, New Jersey. For many people living in that community, life has been far from normal.

“We’re out here playing and it’s hard to have a good time when you see the candles, when you see there was a vigil,” Linda Martinez says.

N.J. Community Comes Together For Candlelight Vigil, Praying For Return Of Missing 5-Year-Old Dulce Maria Alavez

Candles still burn outside of Bridgeton City Park, not far from where 5-year-old Dulce Maria Alavez was last seen alive.

credit: CBS3

Bridgeton police believe Dulce was kidnapped Monday afternoon and an Amber Alert was issued the next day.

“We just beg people that know something, to tell the police,” Dulce’s cousin, Yiesica Hernandez, pleaded.

More than 100 people filled the field on Saturday during the vigil, as most of the attendees wore yellow as a symbol of the last color Dulce was seen wearing.

credit: CBS3

‘I Just Want To Find Her’: Bridgeton Police Searching For Missing 5-Year-Old Dulce Maria Alavez Last Seen In Park

“It’s tough. It’s really tough to enjoy something and then knowing that she’s still not home,” Eduardo Martinez says.

Martinez plays every Sunday for the Mexica baseball league.

Near that same field just days before, more than 100 officers from different departments combed a vast wooded area for evidence.

For Martinez and his wife Linda, Dulce is at the top of their minds and their hearts are heavy.

“Time froze for that family on Monday and life just keeps going on for everybody else. It’s kind of hard to think about that because it could happen to us. It could happen to any of us,” Linda Martinez said.

Police Believe Missing 5-Year-Old Dulce Maria Alavez Lured Away From Bridgeton Playground By Man

Police are looking for a red van or SUV with tinted windows. Authorities again relayed the message that tips can be given anonymously.

Over the weekend, the reward for information leading to Dulce or her possible abductor was also raised to $35,000, as the search for the missing girl approaches one full week.