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Reward upped to $35K in search for missing 5-year-old Dulce Alavez

The little girl vanished from a park in New Jersey on Monday afternoon, police said. A man was seen leading her to a red van.

The reward for information about the disappearance of Dulce Alavez was increased to $35,000 as the search for the missing 5-year-old girl entered its sixth day.

The New Jersey State Police Benevolent Association said in a tweet late Friday that it was raising the award to $30,000 in hopes that "someone will come forward."

"We need everyone's help to find this girl," the agency's president, Patrick Colligan, said.

The FBI in Newark said in a tweet Thursday that it was offering up to $5,000 for information that leads to Dulce's whereabouts.

Dulce vanished from City Park in Bridgeton, a city in the southern part of the state, on Monday afternoon. Authorities are searching for a man, possibly Hispanic, who they say led her from the park to a red van with a sliding side door and tinted windows.

Image: Dulce Alavez
Dulce was last seen wearing a yellow shirt, black-and-white pants and white sandals.Bridgeton Police Department

The van drove away from the area around 4:20 p.m., according to a statewide Amber Alert.

Residents in the area are planning to hold a candlelight vigil for Dulce at the park at 7 p.m. on Saturday. A flyer posted on social media asks those attending to wear yellow "and pray Dulce finds her way back home."

During a press conference on Friday, Bridgeton Police Chief Michael Gaimari said authorities do not have any "strong suspects at this time." He said police have conducted more than 70 interviews.

Dulce's mother told authorities that she last saw her daughter playing on the swings with her 3-year-old brother. The mother said she was about 30 yards away in her car with an 8-year-old relative.

When the 3-year-old returned to the car without Dulce, the mother tried to find her but could not. She contacted authorities about 4:50 p.m., police said in a news release earlier this week.

At least six other law enforcement agencies, including the FBI in Newark, are helping local authorities in the search for Dulce. In a tweet Friday, the FBI asked people to stop spreading false rumors about the case online after reports surfaced that an arrest had been made.

The Cumberland County Prosecutor's Office said in a Facebook post on Saturday that the circulation of false information "pulls our attention away from doing all that we can to locate Dulce."

The girl was last seen wearing a yellow shirt with a koala bear on the front, black-and-white pants and white sandals. She is described as Hispanic, with black hair and is roughly 3 feet, 5 inches tall.

The man who police are searching for is described as having a thin build, light skin, no facial hair, and acne. He is said to be between 5 feet, 6 inches and 5 feet, 8 inches tall, and was wearing a black shirt, red pants, and orange sneakers, possibly Nikes.