Tree lighting planned for missing NJ girl Dulce Maria Alavez

New Jersey
Dulce Maria Alavez new photo

Dulce Maria Alavez, right, was last seen at a park in Bridgeton, New Jersey on Sept. 16, 2019. Authorities released an age-progression image, left, of what she may look like on Sept. 15, 2021. (Credit: Bridgeton Police Department)

BRIDGETON, N.J. — The family of Dulce Maria Alavez, a New Jersey girl who went missing at a park in 2019, has planned a tree lighting ceremony for the child. 

The girl’s family and supporters plan to gather for a tree lighting, “Dulce’s Silent Night: A Christmas Miracle,” on Saturday at the playground she was last seen at in Bridgeton two years ago, according to NJ.com.

“It’s to remind Dulce that her family is missing her and wishing she will return home for the holidays,” volunteer Brenda Trinidad told NJ.com.

The little girl was last seen on Sept. 16, 2019, during a family outing to Bridgeton City Park in Cumberland County. 

Alavez disappeared 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.

An Amber Alert was issued on Sept. 17.

Ahead of the two-year anniversary of the girl’s disappearance, 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.

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.

A silent walk was also planned during the two-year anniversary to bring “unity and justice” for her and remind the community that Alavez remains missing.

In 2019, then-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.

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

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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