2 years after NJ disappearance, what Dulce Maria Alavez might look like
BRIDGETON — A day before the 2nd anniversary of the disappearance of a 5-year-old girl from a city park, an age-enhanced image was released to show what she may look like now at age 7
Dulce Maria Alavez was last seen at Bridgeton City Park on Sept. 16, 2019, when a young witness told police that Dulce, then age 5, walked with a man toward a red van.
The Cumberland County Prosecutor's Office, Bridgeton police, State Police and the FBI have followed up a number of tips including psychic leads and internet rumors but there has been no solid sign of her whereabouts.
Prosecutor Jennifer Webb McRae and Bridgeton police Chief Michael Gaimari are optimistic that Dulce, whose 7th birthday was in April, is still alive.
"We hold out hope that Dulce is alive (as we have no evidence of her demise and want the public to know that this case will remain open until such time as we locate Dulce and determine those responsible for her disappearance," Webb McRae and Gaimari said in a joint statement.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children released an age-progression image of what Dulce would look like at the age of 7.
Jackie Rodriguez, a former spokeswoman for the family who has become critical of the level of her mother's involvement in the search, dismissed the age progression image.
"In my opinion I don’t even think it looks like her," Rodriguez told New Jersey 101.5.
Leading the way home for Dulce
A silent walk and candle lighting called "Celebrating a life that still burns bright" is scheduled for Thursday at the park. The walk will continue to the prosecutor's office and Bridgeton police headquarters. Dulce's mother Noema will be part of the walk.
"Basically we are lighting the way for Dulce to come home," organizer Anna Donnelly said.
Participants are asked to wear yellow, the color of the shirt Dulce was wearing when she disappeared.
Donnelly said she was moved to organize the walk because she is also a mother.
"If one of my kids was abducted I would one people to help me," Donnelly said.
A $75,000 reward is still being offered for information leading an arrest in disappearance.
Information can be called into the prosecutor's office at 856-453-0486, New Jersey State Police at 609-882-2000 X 2554, the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI. Select option 4, then option 8 or Bridgeton Police at bpdops.com/tips.