The family of 5-year-old Dulce Maria Alavez said they remain desperate for the little girl’s safe return more than two weeks after she first went missing from a New Jersey park.
“Why her? Why does she have to pay the consequences? She’s just a small girl,” Dulce’s mom, Noema Alavez Perez, told reporters at a press conference Monday.
“She’s just an innocent girl. She’s just 5 years old. She doesn’t know nothing of the world that we know,” Perez added.
Dulce’s grandmother pleaded with whoever has Ducle to bring her home.
“I’m begging the person who has her, please return her to my family,” she said in Spanish.
Dulce was last seen on Sept. 16 in the afternoon near City Park in Bridgeton, New Jersey. Authorities said they do not have any “strong suspects” but are still interested in speaking with a man they initially thought took Dulce.
The man is described as wearing a black shirt and red pants with orange sneakers, and had a thin build, acne and no facial hair.
Dulce’s mom said Monday she was in the car scratching off a lottery ticket while her daughter was playing on the swings with 3-year-old brother, about 30 yards away.
Perez said she could see the park but not the swings because hills were blocking them. Her son later returned to the car without Dulce and Perez could not find her daughter.
"I'm worried about my daughter," she said Monday. "We miss her a lot."
The FBI, state police, missing persons unit, helicopters and the downtown ship dive crew have been part of the search effort for the little girl.
A $35,000 reward has been issued for any information on Dulce.
The FBI, Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office, and the New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association are each contributing $5,000. Two local businesses, Tortilleria El Paisano and Newfield National Bank, are each offering $10,000.