BRIDGETON, N.J. — A new age-progression image of a missing New Jersey girl was released Wednesday ahead of the anniversary of her disappearance.
Thursday will mark two years since Dulce Maria Alavez vanished during a family outing to Bridgeton City Park in Cumberland County.
Bridgeton Police Department Chief Michael Gaimari and Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae released the new rendering along with a joint statement vowing the case would remain open until Alavez is found.
“As we approach the two-year anniversary of the disappearance of Dulce Maria Alavez, law enforcement continues to pursue all leads in its quest to locate Dulce,” the statement said.
Local investigators worked with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children to create the rendering of what Alavez, now 7 years old, may look like now that two years have passed.
“This image is a depiction of what Dulce may appear like today,” the joint statement said. “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.”
Alavez disappeared on Sept. 16, 2019, while playing with her 3-year-old brother as their mother, Noema Alavez Perez, sat in her car with an 8-year-old relative. The girl’s brother ran to the car crying and pointed to the area where he last saw his sister.
A tearful Alavez Perez called 911 to report what she feared was an abduction.
An Amber Alert was issued on Sept. 17, 2019.
In 2019, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said he feared immigration enforcement was keeping community members from coming forward to help with the investigation.
“There are pockets of the immigrant population in Bridgeton that may have information but are just afraid to come forward because of over-aggressive immigration enforcement by ICE,” Grewil said.
Police have not identified any suspects in the case.