MISSING: Investigators looking for Dulce Alavez believe her disappearance was crime of opportunity

The little girl, who turned 6 in April, has been missing since September 16.

Detectives looking for a 5-year-old girl who disappeared at a New Jersey park nearly a year ago say they believe Dulce Alavez may have been abducted by someone who came to the park to kidnap a child, NJ.com reports.

Little Dulce was with her mother, brother, and her mother’s younger sister at Bridgeton City Park on September 16. Dulce and her 3-year-old brother Manuel ran into the park while their mother, Noema Alavez Perez, remained in the car helping her 8-year-old sister with homework.

When the sister said she could no longer see the younger children, the two walked into the park and found only Manuel, as CrimeOnline previously reported.

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“If you are looking for a child to take the child, you go where children are,” FBI special agent Daniel Garrabrant told NJ.com. “That’s one of the reasons that we believe that the target was a child, but it may not necessarily have been Dulce. We’ve had cases like this across the country where offenders go to places where children are,, and they would have access to children, and they wait for the opportunity.

Garrabrant, who is a leader of theFBI’s Child Abduction Rapid Deployment Team, said it’s even possible that the person who took Dulce was at the park “maybe to watch children because that’s what they like, and the opportunity presented itself, and they did what they did.”

Investigators have found no indication that Dulce is not still alive, he said — no physical remains near the park and nothing in the fields and woods around Bridgeton during an entire hunting season.

“I’m working under the premise and the assumption that she’s still alive,” he said.

Garrabant said that investigators have two descriptions of a possible suspect — Hispanic, about 5 foot eight inches with acne and in his early 30s. One description says the man had facial hair, the other says he didn’t. In one description, the man was allegedly seen putting a girl into a red van, but Garrabrant said the vehicle information may be inaccurate.

“We have literally gotten thousands and thousands of red van leads,” he said. “None of them have panned out to date.”

But, the investigator said, he does believe a suspect vehicle is on the hours of surveillance footage from homes and businesses nearby, noting that it isn’t possible to drive away from the park without being seen on at least one video.

Dulce’s family has been cooperative, Garrabrant said, but would not say that anyone has been ruled out as a suspect.

Garrabrant said he believes someone knows who took Dulce and hopes they come forward soon. In the meantime, investigators are working diligently.

“I think a lot of times when cases stretch out for long periods of time, the community may think that it’s not still being worked, and it is,” he said. “It’s actually a very active investigation.

See all CrimeOnline’s reporting about the disappearance of Dulce Alavez.

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