Search for missing 5-year-old Dulce Maria Alavez enters day 8

Image 1 of 5

The search for missing 5-year-old Dulce Maria Alavez enters its eighth day Monday.



Search crews have been scouring Bridgeton City Park in Cumberland County after Alavez disappeared while playing on the swings with her 3-year-old brother on Monday, Sept.

The children's mother was sitting in her car 30 yards away with an 8-year-old relative. The 3-year-old returned to the car without Alavez. The mother reportedly rang up every family member.

“She just called, she was crying and asking me if she was with us,” said Hernandez.

Investigators say Alavez was lured into the back seat of a red van by a male suspect who has been described as 5-foot-6 to 5-foot-8, with a thin build and acne on his face. He was wearing orange sneakers, red pants and a black shirt at the time of the reported abduction.

Family, friends and supporters gathered Saturday night for a vigil at Bridgeton City Park, where Alavez disappeared. Supporters lit candles, prayed, sang hymns and wore yellow, the color that Dulce was wearing when she went missing. A pastor prayed the girl's abductor would "send this baby home."

Many attending the vigil were parents themselves, including the vigil organizer, who said the mission is personal.

“I did this because if, God forbid, if it were to happen to one of my kids, I would want all the help I could get," said Jackie Rodriguez. "I would want the community to be like this, to come out."

There's a $35,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.