‘Dulce’s Tree & Garden’ to keep missing girl’s face visible
BRIDGETON — The relocated posters and pictures of missing 5-year-old Dulce Maria Alavez have found a new home in a playground.
The girl went missing Sept. 16 when she vanished from Bridgeton City Park as she played with her 3-year-old brother. The last reported sighting of the girl came from a young witness who told police that she was seen walking with a man toward a red van at Bridgeton City Park, authorities have said.
A fence in the park that was also a backstop for a baseball field immediately became the focal point of her disappearance and was filled with posters, balloons, candles, ribbons, pictures and flowers. Several media briefings took place with the fence as a backdrop.
Jackie Rodriguez, a family friend acting as a spokesperson for the Alavez family, told New Jersey 101.5 that the fence needed to be emptied as baseball season approaches but the city of Bridgeton promised it would be relocated.
The city has moved quickly and donated a tree that will become the center piece of "Dulce’s Tree and Garden," according to Rodriguez. It is near the playground where Dulce went missing.
"I am very happy with it. I wasn’t expecting it but they surprised me good and I would really really like to thank them for doing that," Rodriguez told New Jersey 101.5.
Rodriguez said she is happy with the spot and will plant a "little garden and basically always remember her with the tree."
Candles will not be allowed at the new location because of the fire danger.
No significant evidence has been developed to indicate where Dulce may be but the case remains under investigation by the Cumberland County Prosecutor's Office, State Police, Bridgeton police and the FBI.
Anyone with information about Dulce's disappearance should call 800-CALL-FBI (225-5324) option 4, option 8. Information can also be reported to Bridgeton's TIP 411 text service by texting "Bridgeton" plus your tip to 847411.