What to Know
- Dulce María Alavez, 5, disappeared from a Bridgeton, New Jersey, park on Monday, Sept. 16, 2019.
- Authorities believe the girl was abducted.
- Despite a prolonged search and federal involvement, the girl has not turned up.
The mystery surrounding Dulce María Alavez has gripped South Jersey for months since she disappeared at a park in front of her little brother, and with her mother nearby.
Hundreds of leads and tips have turned up very few hints for the police and the public about the whereabouts of the five-year-old from Bridgeton in Cumberland County.
Dulce (pronounced DOOL-say) María went missing Sept. 16, 2019. Here's a rundown of what has happened since:
Sept 16, 4:48 p.m.: Dulce María's mother, Noema Alavez Pérez, calls 911. "I can't find my daughter," she tells the dispatcher.
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Sept. 17, 7:30 p.m.: Police call off the first full day's search for Dulce María. An Amber Alert is soon issued. A vehicle, identified only as a red van, is sought in what has now become an abduction investigation.
Sept. 20: The reward for information leading to Dulce rises to $35,000. Police and the public continued their search of the area around the park for a fourth day.
Sept. 24: The FBI officially becomes involved nationally, adding Dulce María to their "Most Wanted Missing Persons" list. Meanwhile, agents tell local investigators that they found Dulce María's father in Mexico and spoke to him about his daughter. They release no more details about the interview with the father.
Oct. 3: Noema Alavez Pérez's 911 call is obtained by NBC10. "Me and my sister we came down, but when we got here at the park, she wasn't here," Alavez Pérez tells police after being transferred by the dispatcher. "My son was just crying... they say that somebody just threw his ice cream on the floor and my daughter just ran away."
Oct. 4: Local law enforcement say they have received 1,000s of tips, yet none have led authorities any closer to finding the little girl.
Oct. 9: The reward for Dulce María's return rises to $52,000 after three New Jersey State Police unions offered an additional $10,000 each.
Oct. 15: Police release a sketch of a man wanted for questions in the girl's disappearance. He has distinctive acne on his chin below his bottom lip.
Oct. 16: One month after Dulce María disappeared, her mother spoke with NBC10 and Telemundo62 from her home in Bridgeton. "It's really been hard for us because she's always been in the house with my mom," Alavez Pérez said. "It's very quiet now without her."
The case goes cold.
Feb. 3: The FBI included Dulce María's photo as part of its social media push of its “Most Wanted” missing people for National Missing Persons Day.