Anguished family members of a five-year-old girl who was purportedly abducted by a man in a red van from a New Jersey park on Monday evening have vehemently denied any involvement in the alleged kidnapping.
The search for Dulce Maria Alavez entered its fourth day on Thursday morning, less than 24 hours after the New Jersey State Police issued an Amber Alert for the missing girl.
The bulletin stated that based on repeated interviews of eyewitnesses in Bridgeton Park, Dulce was taken by a light-skinned, possibly Hispanic man with acne on his face, who was wearing orange sneakers, red pants and a black shirt.
Dulce’s mother, 19-year-old Noema Alavez Perez, revealed on Wednesday that investigators have suggested that a family member played a role in her daughter’s kidnapping – a claim she denied.
Dulce Maria Alavez, 5, went missing from the Bridgeton Park in New Jersey on Monday. The photo on the right shows her buying ice cream before her disappearance
Their mother, Noema Alavez, 19, remained in her car about 30 yards away with an eight-year-old relative. She told police that they had all gone to get ice cream before heading to the playground
‘The police think our family did this,’ she told NJ Advance Media. ‘They think I did something to her. I didn’t. I love my daughter. I would never do nothing bad to her.’
The suspected kidnapper, described as a man between 5 feet 6 inches and 5 feet and 8 inches in height, with a thin build and no facial hair, allegedly led the child into a red van with a sliding door on the passenger side and tinted windows, and drove off, leaving her three-year-old brother behind on the playground.
Alavez Perez was sitting in a car with her eight-year-old relative about 30 yards away from where her children had been playing at the time of the suspected kidnapping at 5pm on Monday.
The mother-of-two on Wednesday made an emotional plea for Dulce’s safe return.
Dulce’s grandmother, Norma, broke down in tears begging the person who took the girl to bring her back home
‘The only thing we’re asking is for her to come back home safely,’ she said. ‘We don’t know who took her, who’s with her, how she’s doing and everything. The only thing we’re trying to do is find her.’
With her voice cracking, Alavez Perez then added: ‘I would give everything for her to come back.’
Dulce’s aunt, Nayiber Alavez, said it has been difficult for the family, especially with the accusatory claims swirling around.
‘It’s more harder for us because they judging us that we had something to do with it when we don’t,’ she told 6ABC.
Dulce’s grandmother, Norma, issued a tearful plea, addressing the person who took her granddaughter directly and begging him to bring her home.
The girl’s mother previously told police that she and her children had all gone to get ice cream before heading to the playground.
She went to check on her two children playing by the swings after about 10 minutes and saw her son crying with his ice cream on the ground.
When she asked where his sister was, the little boy pointed towards some nearby buildings.
‘I thought she was just playing hide-and-seek, that she was playing in the woods,’ Alavez told NBC Philadelphia.
The mother and her family members scoured the area for the little girl before calling police for help.
Dulce was last seen wearing checkered pants, a yellow shirt and white sandals. Her long dark hair was tied in a ponytail
Dulce is pictured above in the yellow t-shirt buying ice cream with her mother, younger brother and an eight-year-old relative before they headed to the park where she vanished from
Officers accompanied by K-9 units combed the park on foot, while a New Jersey State Police helicopter flew overhead and several boats went up and down a nearby canal.
Bridgeton Park is a 1,500-acre area that includes a canal known as Raceway and the Cohanzick Zoo.
Family members and volunteers joined the expanding search efforts on Tuesday.
They played ice cream truck music in an attempt to lure the missing girl and calling out her name.
Dulce was last seen wearing checkered pants with flowers, a yellow T-shirt and white sandals.
The Bridgeport Police Department released screenshots from surveillance video showing Dulce entering a grocery store with her family and opening an ice cream refrigerator.
The child is 3 feet 5 inches tall, with a medium build, and has long dark hair tied in a ponytail.
Officers accompanied by K-9 units combed the park on foot, while a New Jersey State Police helicopter flew overhead and several boats went up and down a nearby canal
Bridgeton Park is a 1,500-acre area that includes a canal known as Raceway and the Cohanzick Zoo
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