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The mom of missing 5-year-old Dulce Maria Alavez has spoken out in a new interview, saying she believes it’s possible an “old friend” is involved with her daughter’s disappearance.
Noema Alavez Perez, 19, spoke to Dr. Phil in a recent interview about her daughter’s September disappearance from a Bridgeton city park, recalling how the 5-year-old disappeared, addressing speculation that she and her family may have been involved in the disappearance, and pointing the finger at a possible suspect in the case as the months stretch on since Dulce was last seen alive.
Alavez Perez initially told Dr. Phil that she had no theories about who may have taken Dulce as she played with her brother in the park on the afternoon of Sept. 16, but when pressed by the television host about her “first choice” if she had to name somebody, she said it could be an “old friend.”
“Last time he saw me, me and my daughter together, and he just waved at me to say hi, and he asked me if that was my daughter and I told him, ‘yes,’” she said.
Alavez Perez said she had no specific reason to suspect him, but told Dr. Phil that the man had once tried to date her and she had resisted his advances.
“He just insisted but I told him no,” she said.
In the months since the 5-year-old disappeared from the city park, Alavez Perez and her family have found themselves under suspicion in the mysterious disappearance.
However, the 19-year-old mom has continued to assert her innocence, telling Dr. Phil she did not have anything to do with her daughter’s disappearance. She said she believed police had initially looked into her because she did not show emotion after her daughter disappeared.
“I don't know why; I don't cry in front of people," she said of preferring to keep her emotions private.
Dr. Phil also remarked on her demeanor during the interview, later telling one of Alavez Perez’s friends that the mom was the most “emotionally flat” woman in this situation he had encountered.
“I want to believe that she cries at night,” friend Jackie Rodriguez said in a clip from the show. “I want to think she’s strong.”
Rodriguez, who admits she hasn’t known the family for long, doesn’t believe Alavez Perez was involved in the disappearance but does believe she may know more than she’s letting on.
“She seems too calm,” she said. “I feel like she knows that the child is OK. She’s missing her but I feel like she knows she’s OK.”
Alavez Perez, however, has maintained that she doesn’t know anything about where her daughter is although she continues to believe that she is still alive.
Dulce disappeared Sept. 16 shortly after arriving at the park with her 3-year-old brother. Alavez Perez said the two ran off to the park while she stayed behind with her own 8-year-old sister in a car parked nearby.
“When me and my sister didn’t see them in sight we came down from the car and went and looked for them,” she said.
The two found Alavez Perez's 3-year-old son crying with his ice cream on the ground, but Dulce was nowhere to be found. When she asked her son where Dulce was, he pointed to a group of buildings near the playground.
“At first I thought that she was playing hide and seek. I didn’t want to believe that somebody took her,” Alavez Perez said.
She searched around behind the buildings but found no trace of her daughter.
Investigators issued an Amber Alert Sept. 17 and have scoured the area around the park to try to find any clues about where the missing child might be.
Authorities also released a detailed description of a man traveling in a red van who may have been seen in the area by a witness around the time of the disappearance. That man has been described as a possibly Hispanic male about 5’6” tall with a thin build.
However, no arrests have been made in the case.
Bridgeton Police Chief Michael Gaimari said when the case hit the two-mark month in November that it remained the department’s top priority, according to NJ.com.
With Christmas soon approaching, her family is hoping a Christmas miracle will bring the 5-year-old home.
“She was real happy because she would want Santa to bring her a bunch of presents,” Alavez Perez told NJ.com of her daughter’s love of Christmas. “We’re sad and worried because my daughter’s not here so we could share these holidays with her.”
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