Police issue warning about false reports concerning missing 5-year-old NJ girl

New Jersey
NJ girl, Dulce Maria Alavez

Dulce Maria Alavez, 5, (pictured) was last seen at a park in Bridgeton, New Jersey on Sept. 16, 2019. (Bridgeton Police Dept.)

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BRIDGETON, N.J. — False reports are circulating that the body of a missing 5-year-old New Jersey girl was found in Ohio, police said Sunday.

While law enforcement in Austintown, Ohio did conduct a search over the weekend for Dulce Marie Alavez based on a tip, nothing was found, Bridgeton Police Chief Michael Gaimari said. The Austintown search was “based on an unsubstantiated tip they received.”

This isn’t the first time police have investigated based on tips.

“The department has received erroneous information from less-than-credible sources during the course of this investigation that has resulted in manpower being re-directed in their efforts,”Gaimari wrote in a Facebook post. “This type of activity hinders investigator’s efforts in locating Dulce and determining the circumstances surrounding her disappearance.”

The 5-year-old girl was last seen on Sept. 16 during a family outing to the park. She and her 3-year-old brother were playing while their mother sat in her car with an 8-year-old relative. An Amber Alert was issued Sept. 17.

The missing girl was last seen wearing a yellow shirt with a koala bear on the front, black and white checkered pants with a flower design, and white sandals, police said. She is 3 foot, 5 inches and weighs around 40 pounds. The girl has black hair and brown eyes.

Police released a sketch of a man they want to speak with in connection with the case. Cumberland County prosecutor’s office officials say it’s a composite sketch of a man who they say was reportedly seen in the park around the time when the girl went missing. Officials said he was reportedly with one or two children under the age of five.

Those with information that could assist in the investigation are still urged to contact the Bridgeton Police Dept. at 856-451-0033 or utilize the department’s anonymous TIP411 text line, subtext “Bridgeton.”

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