BRIDGETON, N.J. (CBS) — Sept. 16th marks a year since Dulce Maria Alavez disappeared from the Bridgeton City Park. Sunday afternoon, community members gathered there to mark the somber anniversary.
Despite extensive searches over the past year by local and federal authorities and volunteers, Dulce hasn’t been seen since.
Her mother, Noema Alavez Perez, told police she was in a car nearby with an 8-year-old relative, while Dulce and her 3-year-old brother played on the playground. When Perez went to check on the children, Dulce was nowhere to be found.
“Dulce, we are still here for you if you’re watching, if one day you see this, you see that there’s still people out here that’s fighting for you,” said Jackie Rodriguez, who acted as a spokesperson for the family in the past and planned the community gathering.
Love this shot my coworker Ed Specht captured at the candlelight vigil for Dulce Maria Alavez this afternoon @ Bridgeton City Park. Sept. 16 marks 1 year since the then 5y/o vanished without a trace There is a $75,000 reward for info leading to Dulce. Text “Bridgeton” to “TIP411” pic.twitter.com/azZ9BuxeiT
— Trang Do (@TrangDoCBS3) September 14, 2020
“She’s only 6 years old, and she deserves to have a voice,” Rodriguez said. “She’s out there somewhere hopefully watching this and sees that there’s somebody that cares for her, that there’s a team out there that cares, there’s a community out there that still cares for her.”
The event included a prayer and candlelight vigil that brought out members of the Bridgeton community and even a few from out of state, like Carla Dinsmore of Wilmington, Delaware.
“There was just something about it that really grabbed my heart,” she said. “And so I’ve stayed with it the whole time, just praying everyday that she’ll be found and I believe she’s still alive.”
Others at the vigil share Dinsmore’s belief. Rodriguez says police just need that one tip to bring Dulce home.
“Something can mean so little to you, can mean something big for the investigators, so if anyone has any kind of information, anything, just send it in anonymous, or call it in anonymous, don’t be afraid to say it,” she said.
Bridgeton Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation continue to investigate Dulce’s disappearance. The reward money for information leading to her whereabouts now stands at $75,000. Anyone with information can text: TIP411 with the message “Bridgeton” to anonymously share information with authorities.