By Dan Koob


BRIDGETON, N.J. (CBS) — Sunday was another sad calendar milestone in the search for missing 5-year-old Dulce Maria Alavez, who disappeared from Bridgeton City Park five months ago on Sept. 16, 2019. Dulce’s family and the Bridgeton community are still holding out hope she’ll be found.

Manny Abarca and Camilla Alavez played on a brisk Sunday at Ridgeway Hunter Field in Bridgeton, but they were one person short.

“It’s taken a toll on me. It’s stressful and it’s just like, what else can I do?” family spokesperson Jackie Rodriguez said.

Dulce is still gone — five months since her disappearance from the park.

Dulce’s grandmother Norma Perez Alavez said in Spanish, translated by Rodriguez, that every day they “wake up to hear news, but they don’t get any new news,:

The memorial where Dulce’s first vigil remains for now.

“As people walked out, they placed candles and teddy bears and stuff like that,” Rodriguez said.

But now, they’re being told it’s time to move.

With the youth baseball season approaching, the family has agreed to move the memorial across the park and away from the backstop to avoid foot traffic.

“I hope her name stays alive and I will do my part to keep her name alive,” Rodriguez said.

As Dulce’s relatives played next to the stuffed animals and frozen lunchboxes, her family keeps looking — 153 days later and counting.

Camilla Alavez is Dulce’s aunt. She says she can’t wait for Dulce to come home so the two can go back to giving each other great hugs and playing.

The only real clue police have released so far is a sketch of a person of interest.

(credit: Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office)

But that was back in October.

Police say between eight and 10 detectives from four different agencies are working on Dulce’s case every day. Physical searches in the Bridgeton area continue as warranted. Investigators are using facial recognition technology is also being put to use.

Authorities say they have received several terabytes worth of pictures and videos related to the case.

Police still believe Dulce was abducted and didn’t just walk off.

*** If you have any information, please call police at 856-451-0033 or text anonymously to TIP411. ***