Police release sketch in disappearance of 5-year-old Dulce Alavez – NJ.com
Police have released a sketch of a man they want to speak with in connection with the Sept. 16 disappearance of Dulce Maria Alavez.
The 5-year-old was reported missing during a family outing to Bridgeton City Park.
Investigators are not calling the man a suspect or a person of interest in the case, Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae said Tuesday.
“He is simply a possible witness we want to speak with at this time,” she said in a statement.
He was reported to be with one or two children under the age of 5 around the time Dulce went missing, authorities said.
He is described as Hispanic, about 5 feet 7 inches tall, with a slender build and about 30 to 35 years old. He was wearing a white T-shirt, blue jeans and a white baseball-style cap, authorities said.
The sketch was developed after a witness recently came forward and provided a description. This witness is not the child who provided details of a possible suspect described in an Amber Alert issued in the case, Webb-McRae noted.
“We are asking this person (or anyone who may recognize him) to come forward, as investigators wish to speak with him as it is believed that he may have information that is helpful in determining the circumstances that led to Dulce’s disappearance,” Webb-McRae said.
Anyone with information about this man is asked to contact Bridgeton Police Department at 856-451-0033. Information may be supplied anonymously by texting TIP411, with “Bridgeton” in your message.
Dulce’s mom, 19-year-old Noema Alavez Perez, took her kids and her sister to the park a little after 4 p.m. on Sept. 16 after stopping for ice cream at a nearby Sunoco convenience store.
Once at the park, Dulce and her 3-year-old brother ran to a nearby playground about 30 yards from the car, while Alavez Perez and her 8-year-old sister remained in the car. The mom explained that she was checking a scratch-off lottery ticket and preparing to help her sister with homework when the sister said she couldn’t see the young kids at the playground.
They walked to the playground, where Alavez Perez found her son crying. His ice cream was on the ground and when asked about his sister, he pointed to a spot near the playground where he last saw her, the mom said.
During a 911 call, Alavez Perez says the child may have been taken.
“We were here at the park and people said that somebody … probably somebody took her,” she tells a dispatcher.
A $52,000 reward is being offered for information on Dulce. Her disappearance prompted multiple searches of the massive Bridgeton park and surrounding areas. Investigators have issued a nationwide appeal for tips.
Dulce is approximately 3-feet, 5-inches tall, with brown eyes and brown hair. She was last seen wearing a yellow shirt with a picture of an elephant, black and white pants and white shoes.
Anyone with information may also contact the New Jersey State Police Missing Persons Unit at 609-882-2000, ext. 2554, or the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (select option 4, then option 8).
Deacon Arnaldo Santos, of the Parish of the Holy Cross in Bridgeton, said Dulce’s family is receiving support through the parish and urged anyone with information about the child to speak up.
Local officials have repeatedly assured undocumented immigrants that police searching for Dulce are not interested in the immigration status of anyone with information about the case.
Santos acknowledged that some may remain fearful.
“In some cases, people may be afraid to contact the police and they are more than welcome to contact us instead,” he offered. Santos can be reached at 856-455-2323.
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