BRIDGETON, N.J. — A $20,000 reward has been offered for information that leads to the whereabouts of a 5-year-old girl who disappeared this week while playing with a sibling at a New Jersey playground.
State police issued an Amber Alert late Tuesday night for Dulce Maria Alavez, who was last seen around 5 p.m. Monday at Bridgeton city park. The girl and her 3-year-old brother were playing there while their mother sat in her car with an 8-year-old relative.
The mother told police her son soon ran back to the car crying and pointed to the area where he last saw his sister. They could not locate her and police were soon notified.
Authorities believe the girl was taken by a man who apparently led her to a van, put her in the back seat and drove off.
The child may have been taken by a light-skinned, possibly Hispanic male, the Bridgeton Police department said. The possible suspect is described as between 5-foot-6 to 5-foot-8, with a thin build, no facial hair, and acne on his face. He was wearing orange sneakers, red pants and a black shirt, police said.
The FBI contributed $5,000 toward the reward for information leading to Alavez or the identification of someone involved in her disappearance. The Cumberland County Prosecutor’s office offered another $5,000, and the Newfield National Bank is contributing $10,000 to the reward, officials said.
He drove a van with tinted windows and a sliding passenger side door, the alert says.
Dulce was last seen wearing a yellow shirt with a koala bear on the front, black and white checkered long pants with a flower design, and white sandals, police said. She is 3-foot-5 and weighs 40 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.
Bridgeton Police Chief Michael Gaimari issued the Amber Alert after interviewing and re-interviewing people who were in Bridgeton’s city park near the ball fields on Monday afternoon.
Police searched all day Tuesday with more than 50 officers from agencies across the county, city and state. Gaimari also said a waterway was drained by city workers to help in the search.
Police said to call 1-800-CALL-FBI with tips or information about the Amber Alert.