Police in Bridgeton, New Jersey, are frantically searching for a 5-year-old girl who vanished on Monday night during a family trip to a local playground.
Dulce Maria Alavez was last seen near the swings at City Park in Bridgeton.
According to police, the girl’s mother, 19-year-old Noema Perez, drove her kids to the playground at about 4 p.m. on Monday. She let Dulce and her 3-year-old brother play on the swings while she waited in the car with an 8-year-old relative. The car was in a parking lot approximately 30 yards from the playground area, police say.
After about 10 minutes, the 3-year-old returned to the car, saying he was unable to find his sister. He pointed his mother to the area where he last saw her. Perez searched the area for about 15 minutes before calling her brother. They searched for nearly an hour before contacting police.
“I just want to find her and I want to find her that she’s OK,” Perez told CBS Philly. “That nothing bad has happened to her.”
HAPPENING NOW- Dozens circle in prayer as specialized K-9’s search for missing 5yo Dulce Maria Alavez in Bridgeton. Girl missing since about 5p on Monday. All info here https://t.co/5gxFC32hrL pic.twitter.com/KYdOM0cmzG— Cleve Bryan CBS3 (@CleveBryan) September 17, 2019
There are several storage buildings near where the little girl was last seen, but police say there was no sign of her. Authorities have searched for the girl on foot and via helicopter. Specialized K-9 units have been brought in, but police haven’t revealed whether there are any new leads in the disappearance.
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“At this point, we are treating it as a missing child,” Bridgeton Police Chief Michael Gaimari tells NJ.com. “We’re exploring all possibilities.”
Authorities have not revealed whether they believe Dulce simply wandered off or was a victim of foul play.
According to CBS News, Dulce Maria Alavez was wearing brown pants with flowers and butterflies, a pink-colored shirt with long sleeves and white dress shoes.