Search for missing NJ girl, Dulce Alavez done in Ohio – reports
A search was carried out in Ohio Sunday for Dulce Alavez, the five-year-old Cumberland County girl who went missing from Bridgeton in September.
Dulce vanished from Bridgeton City Park Sept. 16 as she played with her 3-year-old brother.
An investigation into her disappearance led by Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb McRae along with Bridgeton police, State Police and the FBI has not turned up any sign of the girl, more than five months later.
The last reported sighting of the five-year-old 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.
Austintown, Ohio, police Sgt. Richard John told NJ.com that after apparent 'tip' letters were received at the local library and a casino, a search was carried out Friday and Saturday.
Authorities combed through a wooded area near Ohio's Hollywood casino and horse racing track, off Route 80 just west of the Pennsylvania border.
John also told NJ.com the search did not turn up any sign of Dulce.
Bridgeton police chief Michael A. Gaimari on his department's Facebook page confirmed the Ohio search turned up no results and refuted rumors her body was recovered.
Gaimari said the department's own investigation has been hampered by “erroneous information from less-than-credible sources” that has diverted manpower from their investigation.
"The investigation thus far continues and there is no information received to indicate the child’s well-being at this time," Gaimari wrote.
Jackie Rodriguez, a family friend acting as a spokeswoman for the Alavez family, said to New Jersey 101.5 that she was contacted by a casino worker who said they were searching there.
Austintown police nor the Cumberland County Prosecutor's Office immediately returned messages on Sunday night.
Meanwhile, KYW radio reported that the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children had purchased an advertisement in a Clearwater, Florida newspaper for information on the whereabouts of Dulce.
John Bischoff, acting vice president of the missing children's division for the organization told KYW that the intent of the ad was to put a picture out in area where law enforcement believes a missing child could be. The report could not confirm for sure if law enforcement had reason to believe Dulce was in Florida.
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.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ