Police Reveal Details on Possible Suspect After 5-Year-Old Girl Disappears from NJ Playground

 


Police have revealed details on a possible suspect who may have taken 5-year-old Dulce Maria Alavez from Bridgeton City Park in New Jersey Monday afternoon.

Authorities with the Bridgeton Police Department say they are searching for a “light-skinned, possibly Hispanic man,” according to CBS Philadelphia and NBC Philadelphia.

The man is said to be between 5-foot-6 and 5-foot-8 and is described as having a “thin build, no facial hair and acne,” according to police, NBC Philadelphia reported. The suspect was wearing orange sneakers, red pants and a black shirt.

 

The suspect allegedly lured the young girl from the playground and into a red van with a sliding side door and tinted windows, police said, NBC Philadelphia reported.

Dulce was placed in the back seat of the vehicle by the suspect, who then drove away at around 4:20 p.m., police said.

Bridgeton Police did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

According to police, the girl’s mother, 19-year-old Noema Perez, drove her children 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.

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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, but Dolce was nowhere to be found.

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.”

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.”

According to CBS News, Dulce was wearing brown pants with flowers and butterflies, a pink-colored shirt with long sleeves and white dress shoes.

Family and members of the community gathered at the park Tuesday morning to continue the search.

“We’re exhausting all efforts at this time to locate the child,” Bridgeton Police Chief Michael Gaimari said, according to NJ.com.

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Bridgeton Mayor Albert Kelly has also spoken out about the search effort saying, “We’re just hoping that, perhaps, by the grace of God we’ll find her,” NJ.com reported. “I’m just so happy that so many in the community are reaching out and asking what they can do to help. We have a good community here. We’re going to find her… alive.”

Dulce’s mom explained that her daughter is “shy.”

“She really doesn’t talk to people, Perez said, NJ.com reported. “She wouldn’t go off with a stranger. She would always be with me or my mom. I don’t know why she just ran away.”