BRIDGETON — A ceremony is planned for one week before Christmas to light "Dulce's tree," referring to the then 5-year-old girl who disappeared from a city park in September 2019 and has not been seen since.

The private Justice for Dulce Maria Alavez Facebook page is calling the event "Dulce's Silent Night, A Christmas Miracle," which is being opened to the public "on behalf of the Alavez family."

Face masks will be required at the tree lighting, which is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 18 at 25 Mayor Aiken Drive in Bridgeton.

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The two-year anniversary of Alavez's disappearance from Bridgeton City Park was marked on Sept. 16. On that occasion, authorities released a pair of age-progressed photos depicting what the girl might look like now as a 7-year-old.

In a joint statement, Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb McRae and Bridgeton Police Chief Michael Gaimari said they hoped Alavez could still be located alive, "as we have no evidence of her demise."

Any information can be called in to the prosecutor's office at 856-453-0486, the New Jersey State Police at 609-882-2000, ext. 2554, the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (select option 4, then option 8), or submitted to Bridgeton police online.

Dan Alexander contributed to this report.

Patrick Lavery is New Jersey 101.5's afternoon news anchor. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email

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