It’s been almost three years since the abduction of a little girl from a suburban park in Bridgeton, New Jersey dominated news headlines, unsettling communities across the country with the idea that a child could be snatched in broad daylight and vanish.
On Sept. 16, 2019, 5-year-old Dulce Alavez was playing with her younger brother during a family outing at Bridgeton City Park in southern New Jersey. Dulce’s mother, Noema Alavez Perez, says she let the two of them run over to the playground while she stayed in her car with an 8-year-old cousin who was with them.
According to Noema, about 10 minutes later, Dulce was no longer visible on the playground. She searched the area thinking her daughter might be hiding…but there was no trace. After a frantic search, she called police to report the abduction.
Law enforcement interviewed everyone at the park, and the community came out en masse to help search for Dulce. Law enforcement searched by helicopter using thermal imaging cameras and even drained a nearby body of water, but there was no sign of Dulce.
Then, law enforcement issued an AMBER Alert on Sept. 17 after witness interviews revealed new information that she might have been abducted:
New Jersey State Police’s Facebook post announcing the AMBER Alert for 5-year-old Dulce Alavez
Police also released surveillance images of Dulce at a convenience store from the day she vanished to show the clothes she was wearing. The family had stopped there for ice cream before heading to the park. She was last seen wearing a yellow shirt with an elephant on the front, black and white pants and white sandals.
Three years later and we still don’t know what happened to Dulce, who would now be 8 years old. Her family continues to hold vigils and walks, anything to keep her name and picture out there. Last year, law enforcement released two age progression images of Dulce, created by a forensic artist at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, to show what Dulce might look like as she’s growing up.
NCMEC has released these age-progression images of what Dulce might look like now
If you have any information about the disappearance of Dulce Alavez, call NCMEC at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678), the Bridgeton City Police Department at 856-451-0033 or your Local FBI Field Office at 800-225-5324.