New Jersey police are asking the immigrant community to help find a 5-year-old girl who vanished in 2019.
After Dulce Maria Alavez went missing in a Bridgeton park, local police launched an indoor-soccer program they said could build trust with the largely Spanish-speaking community.
“What we really wanted to do was really go out and extend our hand to let you know that we were really behind you,” Officer Josh Thompson told ABC News in a story published Monday.
“So we offered up some more programs.”
Local police want to let residents know they should come forward regardless of their legal status, ABC said.
“You don’t have to worry about if you’re a citizen,” Thompson told ABC.
“We’re focusing on trying to find this young lady, and if you have any information, you don’t have to worry about anything.”
Dulce disappeared Sept. 16, 2019 from Bridgeton City Park where she’d been playing with her 3-year-old brother. Dulce’s mother was in a car with her sister nearby and when she went into the park, her daughter was gone.
A lead investigator in the case fears Dulce was snatched by a predator looking for an opportunity to grab a child.
Dulce’s mother, Noema Alavez Perez, told ABC she was happy her daughter’s case hadn’t been forgotten by police.
“They’re not like giving up on her, they keep sharing her posts,” she said. “And there’s even a tree in the park about her so every time kids or adults go there, they see her tree and there’s a picture of her there.”
Dulce is described as around 3 feet 5 with brown eyes and brown hair. She was last seen wearing a yellow shirt with an elephant on it, black and white pants and white shoes.
Tips can be called in to the New Jersey State Police Missing Persons Unit at 609-882-2000, ext. 2554, or the Bridgeton police at 856-451-0033. Anyone with information can also dial 1-800-CALL-FBI and select option 4, followed by option 8.