BRIDGETON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Police are expanding their search for a missing 5-year-old who vanished from a South Jersey park earlier this week.
“It’s necessary to consider the possibility that we have someone either in our community or out in the United States who has taken this child,” said Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae.
Police again searched the area where the child disappeared. Investigators believe Alavez was taken by a man who drove off in a van.
Authorities have also increased the reward, with $30,000 now offered for information that leads to the child.
Dulce was last seen between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Monday afternoon at the park’s playground. She was with her 3-year-old little brother, while her 19-year-old mother Noema Alavez Perez was in her car with another family member about 50 yards away.
Help us locate Dulce Maria Alavez, age 5! The #FBI is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to her whereabouts. Please contact the FBI's Toll-Free Tipline at 1-800-CALL-FBI and select option 4, then select option 8.https://t.co/yVIE6Np2Iq pic.twitter.com/psCQDhiMg6
— FBI Newark (@FBINewark) September 19, 2019
The first 30 hours after the girl’s disappearance, police conducted a full-scale search of the park and nearby waterways. At the same time detectives launched a criminal investigation which led them to conclude the girl was abducted.
At least one witness was able to provide details about a possible kidnapper.
Police describe their suspect as light-skinned, 5-foot 6-inches to 5-foot 8-inches tall, with no facial hair and acne. He was last seen in orange sneakers, red pants and a black shirt. Investigators are also looking for a red van with sliding doors and tinted windows.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Bridgeton Police Department at 856-451-0033 or text anonymously to TIP411.