CAPE MAY COUNTY, N.J. (CBS) — Missing 5-year-old Dulce Maria Alavez joins another child on the FBI’s list of mysterious missing person cases. Mark Himebaugh disappeared 28 years ago in Cape May County.
Now Mark’s mother has a message for Dulce’s mother.
For three-and-a-half weeks, the chaos of a lost child has plagued Bridgeton. Five-year-old Dulce Maria Alavez disappeared on Sept. 16 from Bridgeton City Park while her and her brother were playing as her mother sat in a nearby car.
There are few parents who understand what the desperate heartache of not knowing feels like, but one person who does is Maureen Himebaugh.
“The holidays are the hardest but even looking at his picture or hearing his — that name,” Himebaugh said.
Himebaugh still lives in the same Cape May County home on the same street where her 11-year-old son Mark Himebaugh disappeared from nearly 28 years ago.
Mark was gone in the minutes it took for Himebaugh to run a quick errand.
“You wish you could make it better but you can’t,” she said.
For some time now Himebaugh has kept an unopened gift for Mark and she still uses the same phone number in case the now 39-year-old might one day be found alive.
“I feel him all around me and I feel like he’s taking care of me,” Himebaugh said.
The pain of a missing child never goes away but the intensity returned as Himebaugh has watched the search for young Dulce unfold and the weeks go by.
“She could be found, there could be someone who still has her so they definitely should not give up. I don’t,” Himebaugh said.
Himebaugh knows that the hardest part for Dulce’s family will be if the chaos ends and questions remain.
“That’s what it did for me, a month went into a year, a year went into years. To know that she could be out there,” Himebaugh said.
Twenty-eight years later, investigators are still working on Mark’s case. Like Dulce, they have considered it to be a possible stranger abduction.