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New Jersey 5-year-old Dulce Maria Alavez has been missing for 6 months

NJ teacher allegedly makes inappropriate comment about missing 5-year-old Dulce Maria Alavez
Posted at 3:09 PM, Mar 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-16 09:21:03-04

BRIDGETON, New Jersey — Monday marks six months since a 5-year-old girl vanished from a New Jersey park.

Dulce Maria Alavez was last seen Sept. 16 during a family outing to a park in Bridgeton, Cumberland County.

The girl disappeared while playing with her 3-year-old brother as their mother sat in her car with an 8-year-old relative. Dulce's brother ran to the car crying and pointed to the area where he last saw his sister.

The girl’s mother then frantically called 911 to report what she feared was an abduction.

An Amber Alert was issued on Sept. 17.

Investigators believe the girl may have been taken by a man who led her to a red van.

A composite sketch of a man who Cumberland County prosecutor’s office officials said was seen in the park around the time Dulce went missing was released in October. Officials described the man as a potential witness.

Police have not identified any suspects in the case. A request for comment from the Bridgeton Police Department was not immediately returned on Sunday.

Dulce 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 and weighs 40 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.

Bridgeton Police have pursued several leads as well as unsubstantiated tips in the case, including one that led investigators to Austintown, Ohio. Law enforcement conducted a search in the town but nothing was found, according to Chief Michael Gaimari.

"The department has received erroneous information from less-than-credible sources during the course of this investigation that has resulted in manpower being redirected in their efforts," Gaimari wrote in a Facebook post on March 1. "This type of activity hinders investigator’s efforts in locating Dulce and determining the circumstances surrounding her disappearance."

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.”