Five months after a 5-year-old New Jersey girl went missing from a park, anonymous cryptic letters referencing the little girl have been received by people in both Ohio and New Jersey.
Dulce Maria Alavez was reported missing on Sept. 16 after she vanished from a family outing in a Bridgeton park. She has not been seen or heard from since.
This week, authorities in eastern Ohio said they are investigating three anonymous letters, including one sent to a local library and one sent to an ice cream shop, according to Fox6, News12 and NJ.com.
On Wednesday, a spokeswoman for Dulce’s family said she herself had received a letter at her New Jersey home that had a postmark from Cleveland, Ohio.
Jackie Rodriguez told NJ.com that the letter did not mention anything specific to Dulce’s case but that she was able to make out several words including “Alaska,” “border,” “1776” and “civil war” scribbled on several slips of paper. She has turned the letter, which had no return address, over to Bridgeton police and said she suspects the letters are phony.
“I really hope they do get whoever this is and press some kind of charges against them. What they’re doing is interfering with the investigation,” she said, NJ.com reports. “The detectives are concentrating on facts and then this comes in and makes it even more difficult.”
Bridgeton Police could not be reached for comment Wednesday but told NJ.com they believe the letter is related to the three letters received in eastern Ohio earlier this week.
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On Saturday, in Weathersfield, Ohio, an index card addressed to “Manager Hollywood Gaming” at the Mahoning Valley Race Course was turned over to police. The card had a scribbled message that suggested police search a nearby wooded area by a truck stop.
The letter stated, “76 truck stop dead end St. entrance woods. Please look,” NJ.com reports, and prompted a police search with K9’s that didn’t find anything.
On Monday, the owner of a nearby ice cream shop found a letter in her mailbox and brought it straight to police. The card mentioned Dulce by name but did not mention if she was in the area.
In Austintown, Ohio, a local library also received a letter believed to be connected to the others. Police say the handwriting on all three items appeared to be similar.
At the time of her disappearance, Dulce and her younger brother had been playing in the park while their mother sat in her car in the parking lot about 30 yards away.
After about 10 minutes, the 3-year-old brother returned to the car, saying he was unable to find his sister. He pointed his mother to the area where he last saw her, but Dulce was nowhere to be found.
The reward for information leading to the location of Dulce is now up to $75,000.
Anyone who has information is reminded that authorities will not question them about their immigration status. Information may be supplied anonymously by texting TIP411 subtext Bridgeton or by contacting the Bridgeton Police Department at 856-451-0033.
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