By: Kevin Howard
Additional reporting and video by: Isaiah Showell and Ryan Schumacher
UPDATED 9/17/19 5:53 p.m.
BRIDGETON, N.J. — Bridgeton Police Department Chief Michael A. Gaimari held a press conference to give an update on the search for 5-year-old, Dulce Maria Alvavez.
(To watch the press conference watch the video below)
Chief Gaimari said that Alavez has not been located, but they will continue to search for her with 60 to 65 officers. He stated that the search was still a recovery operation.
The New Jersey State Police, State Police Aviation Bureau, State Police Missing Person Unit, Bridgeton Police Department, Bridgeton Fire Rescue, Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department, Millville K-9 Unit, and Fortescue Dive Team, and Downe Township Dive Team and Fire Rescue have continued to help with the search.
The FBI Child Abduction Rapid Deployment Unit is on the scene to assist the search after the Bridgeton Police Department reached out to them.
Chief Gaimari says that law enforcement is looking into the incident as a missing person, but a criminal investigation is also simultaneously being pursued.
Dulce Maria Alvavez was last seen wearing a yellow shirt, black and white checkered pants with a flower design, and white sandals.
According to Chief Gaimari, Noema Alvavez, 19, the mother of Dulce Maria Alvavez, has been cooperating with investigators.
When asked about Dulce Maria Alvavez being abducted Gaimari said that “We have nothing solid on any kind of abduction at this point.”
The search will continue throughout the whole park including the Raceway.
The Search and Rescue Council of New Jersey will conduct a search and later volunteers will be able to search after the area has been cleared by investigators.
If you have any information about Dulce Maria Alvavez, call the Bridgeton Police Department at (856) 451-0033. You can also text “Bridgeton” plus your tip to 847411.
UPDATED 9/17/19 3:09 p.m.
BRIDGETON, N.J. — Police are continuing their search for a 5-year-old girl who went missing yesterday evening in Bridgeton.
Dulce Maria Alvavez was last seen at a playground near Alden Field at the Bridgeton City Park on Monday, Sept. 17.
According to Bridgeton Police Chief Michael A. Gaimari, Dulce Maria Alavez was last seen by her 3-year-old brother at the playground. Her mother, Noema Alvavez, was in a parking lot near the playground in her vehicle with an 8-year-old relative.
After playing for approximately 10 minutes, only the 3-year-old came back to the car. After searching for her daughter, and calling relatives in the area who also searched for Dulce Maria Alvavez, the mother called the police.
Before the family went to the park, the group went to a local custard stand 45 minutes before Noema Alvavez contacted the police.
Police started to search for Dulce Maria Alvavez after arriving at the scene but called off the search until this morning.
Dulce Maria Alavez was last seen wearing a yellow shirt, black and white checkered pants with a flower design, and white sandals.
The New Jersey State Police and Air Unit, Bridgeton Police Department, Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department, Millville K-9 Unit, and Fortescue and Downe Township Dive Teams are currently out searching and were out last night searching for the missing girl.
Chief Gaimari says that law enforcement is looking into the incident as a missing juvenile, but a criminal investigation is also simultaneously being pursued.
Around two dozen people were playing basketball in a nearby basketball court around the time the child went missing. All of them were interviewed by uniformed officers and detectives, and though they did not see Dulce Maria Alvavez being abducted, they did see her and her brother playing.
Police are exploring all possibilities in their investigation.
While investigators are searching the whole park, one area they are interested in is the wooded area by the playground, which was pointed out by Dulce Maria Alvavez’s 3-year-old brother. Through the wooded area is a steep drop into the Raceway, which is described by Chief Gaimari as a body of water that is 15-20 feet wide that runs into the Cohansey River.
Groups of people arrived at the park to show support for the Alvavez family and the search for Dulce Maria Alavez. As more people showed up, prayer circles started to form.
If you have any information about Dulce Maria Alvavez, call the Bridgeton Police Department at (856) 451-0033.
Original Story starts below:
BRIDGETON, N.J. — Officials from the Bridgeton Police Department are asking for the public’s help to locate a missing 5-year-old girl from Bridgeton.
Police announced that Dulce Maria Alvavez, 5, was last seen in the City Park area on Monday, Sept. 16.
Police mentioned that there was some misinformation saying that Alvavez was found, she has yet to be found.
If you have any information call the Bridgeton Police Department at 856-451-0033.