What to Know
- On the two-year anniversary of the disappearance of Dulce María Alavez, investigators released two photos of what the missing New Jersey girl may look like today at the age of 7.
- On Sept. 16, 2019, Dulce disappeared from a park in Bridgeton, New Jersey, a small Latino-majority city surrounded by one of the most rural areas of the state.
- Authorities believe Dulce was abducted as she played with her 3-year-old brother and her 8-year-old niece.
On the two-year anniversary of the disappearance of Dulce María Alavez, investigators released two photos of what the missing New Jersey girl may look like today at the age of 7.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) worked with investigators to release two age-progression images of Dulce on Wednesday and Thursday, who would be seven-years-old at this time.
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“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,” a spokesperson for the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office wrote on Wednesday.
On Thursday, loved ones and supporters gathered at Bridgeton City Park to light a candle before marching to the Bridgeton Police Station.
It was the same park where Dulce disappeared exactly two years ago on Sept. 16, 2019, in Bridgeton, New Jersey, a small Latino-majority city surrounded by one of the most rural areas of the state.
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Authorities believe Dulce was abducted as she played with her 3-year-old brother and her 8-year-old niece. Her mother, Noema Alavez Pérez, had been watching the kids from a car when the suspected kidnapper struck.
Each child had an ice cream in hand as they ran toward the playground, Alavez Pérez told NBC10 last year. About 10 minutes later, the mother saw the 3-year-old boy upset and crying, his ice cream on the ground and his sister nowhere to be found.
The boy pointed behind some buildings saying his sister went that way, Alavez Pérez said, adding that she initially thought the girl was playing hide-and-seek. However, Dulce never turned up despite massive multi-agency and community-led searches.
Investigators think Dulce may have been taken by a man who had been near the park on the day of her disappearance, and they believe he may have driven off in a red van.
“The offender that took Dulce was likely there for a period of time. It was a crime of opportunity. They were looking for a child, maybe their age or gender,” Federal Bureau of Investigations special agent Daniel Garrabrant said.
The search for the girl has not ceased and has spanned from western states all the way to Mexico, where the FBI said Dulce’s father resides and has been cooperating with authorities.
Last year, on the one-year anniversary of Dulce’s disappearance, Bridgeton City Police Department Chief Michael Gaimari said that the COVID-19 pandemic had impeded some of the work involved in the investigation, but he maintained that authorities were still following “solid” leads.
Investigators said Dulce may be with a light-skinned, possibly Hispanic man standing between 5-feet-6 and 5-feet-8 with a thin build and acne on his face.
The man was last seen wearing orange sneakers, possibly from Nike, red pants and a black shirt.
Dulce was last seen wearing a yellow shirt with an elephant on the front, black and white pants and white sandals.
Dulce is a Hispanic girl with black hair and brown eyes. At the time of her disappearance, she was 3-foot-5 and weighed 40 pounds.
If you have any information on her whereabouts, please call the NCMEC at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) or Bridgeton City Police at 1-856-451-0033).