“We thought that she was just hiding, playing around and we went looking for her but we couldn’t find her,” Perez said.
Police in Bridgeton, New Jersey, is on a frantic lookout for a five-year-old girl who vanished on Monday night during a family trip to a local playground, reports People. Dulce Maria Alavez was reportedly 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 as she waited in the car with a relative who was 8-years-old. The car was in a parking lot approximately 30 yards from the playground area, added the police.
PLEASE RETWEET! Have you seen this little girl? Police say this is what 5 year old Dulce Maria Alavez was wearing when she went missing from the Bridgeton City Park ballfields and playground a little before 5 pm Monday. #missingchild pic.twitter.com/0wQWUU6xN0— Crystal Cranmore (@CrystalCranmore) September 17, 2019
Around 10 minutes later, the 3-year-old returned to the car, only to say that he couldn't find his sister anywhere. He pointed his mother to the area where he last saw her. Perez searched the area thoroughly for about 15 minutes before calling her brother. “We thought that she was just hiding, playing around and we went looking for her but we couldn’t find her,” Perez said. They searched for nearly an hour before they decided to contact the police.
Ground and air teams deployed in search for 5-year old Dulce Maria Alavez. See previous tweet for photo of little girl. Family members have been out searching since 5pm yesterday #missinggirl #bridgetonnj #cumberlandcounty #happeningnow pic.twitter.com/PpyLCN6gZg— Crystal Cranmore (@CrystalCranmore) September 17, 2019
“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.” Apparently, there are several storage buildings where the girl was last seen, but the cops say there was no sign of her. “When we got down, we found my son crying. His ice cream was on the floor. We told him ‘where’s your sister at?’ and he just pointed behind those buildings over there,” Perez said.
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
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. “At this point, we are treating it as a missing child,” Bridgeton Police Chief Michael Gaimari tells NJ.com. “We’re exploring all possibilities.” According to the Bridgeton website, the city park is no more than 1,000 acres. It includes the Cohansey River, Sunset Lake and several small bodies of water, as well as lots of thick, wooded areas.
Authorities have not revealed whether the little girl was a victim of foul play or if she just walked off on her own. 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. Dozens came together at the park to pray for Dulce’s safe return and to comfort her family. If you have any information, please call police at 856-451-0033 or text anonymously to TIP411.