Police seek unidentified male as search expands for 5-year-old suspected kidnapping victim

The reward for information has grown to $30,000 as the search enters its fifth day

UPDATED: Friday, 12:46 pm.

Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae confirmed to CrimeOnline that authorities are seeking one male who may have information about the disappearance of Dulce Maria Alavez. This individual is the same person who was described in an AMBER Alert issued earlier this week. His description, and reports of a possible sighting of the man with the little girl, were given to authorities by eyewitnesses. Law enforcement is working to locate the man, as they believe he could have valuable information about the investigation. It remains unclear at this time if the prosecutor’s office considers this man a potential suspect.

An earlier version of this story stated that authorities were seeking two men: A suspect and a witness, separately. That was based on an inaccurate report published by a local news outlet; a report that appears to have misinterpreted statements made at a press conference Thursday. Webb-McRae confirmed to CrimeOnline that she relayed the corrected information to that outlet and expects the local report to be updated/corrected.

UPDATED: Friday, 12:12 pm.

Investigators from multiple agencies convened on Friday morning to search a New Jersey park where 5-year-old Dulce Maria Alavez was last seen on Monday afternoon.

NJ.com reports that dozens of law enforcement officers, including New Jersey State Police troopers, met early Friday morning at a high school athletic field new Bridgeton City Park, where Dulce was last seen on Monday afternoon. Police reportedly heard eyewitness accounts that a Hispanic male was seen “leading” the little girl from the park into a red van, but authorities said in a press conference on Thursday that they are continuing to follow every lead.

On Friday morning, investigators reportedly split into groups and searched the area, including woods that border the park. An ABC 6 News reporter at the scene shared photos and video of the search on Twitter.

As reported by NJ.com, Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae said at the news conference Thursday that authorities are seeking a man who may have information about the suspected kidnapping.

“We are attempting to identify a male who was in the park at the time Dulce went missing,” the prosecutor said at the press conference.

CrimeOnline is working to clarify some apparently conflicting information about the man police are seeking. A NJ.com report indicates that authorities are seeking a second male in addition to the possible suspect mentioned in earlier reports this week. A report in the Philadelphia Inquirer indicates that the prosecutor said at the news conference that the Hispanic male is the same man previously described as the possible suspect, and characterized him as someone who could “greatly assist” the investigation. 

As of Friday, the reward for information about Dulce’s disappearance grew to $30,000, from $20,000 the day before. The reward money blends contributions from local businesses, the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office, the New Jersey State Police Benevolent Association, and the FBI, which has joined the investigation.

The suspected kidnapper has been described as a light-skinned Hispanic male with a slight build, between 5 feet 6 inches and 5 feet eight inches tall, with acne and no facial hair, and who was wearing red pants and orange sneakers on Monday.

The witness is also described as a Hispanic male, but if it is in fact a different person than the male previously described as a suspect, there is no further description available at this time.

Authorities said on Thursday that anyone with information should come forward regardless of concerns about documentation, as potential witnesses will not be questioned about their immigration status.

Dulce was last seen wearing a yellow shirt with a print of an elephant, black-and-white pants, and white shoes.

Anyone with information about Dulce’s disappearance is urged to contact police at 856-451-0033 or text anonymously to TIP411.

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