Reward increased in case of 5-year-old girl who may have been abducted from a New Jersey playground

Authorities in New Jersey are now offering $52,000 for any information leading to the whereabouts of 5-year-old Dulce Maria Alavez, who has been missing for nearly a month.

The search for Dulce began at 4:50 p.m. on September 16, when police responded to the Bridgeton city park’s ball fields and playground area for a report about a missing child.

Dulce’s mother Noema Alavez Perez said the girl was playing on the swings with her 3-year-old brother while she sat in her car about 30 yards away with an 8-year-old relative, according to police.

Perez told police that the 3-year-old returned to the car without his sister & that she was unable to find Dulce, who 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.

The Amber Alert described the possible suspect as a light-skinned, Hispanic male between 5-foot-6 and 5-foot-8, 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 Amber Alert also said the man was driving a red van with tinted windows. However, Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae cautioned that the information came from a “child of tender years,” but added she “will not discount it” and “will not ask the public to disregard it.”

Bridgeton Police Chief Michael Gaimari said unions representing state troopers, noncommissioned officers and superior officers of the New Jersey State Police have contributed to the reward. The FBI has also contributed to the reward.

Gaimari said anyone with information should call the Bridgeton Police at 856-451-0033 or the New Jersey State Police Regional Operations Intelligence Center at 609-963-6900.