Almost three months after a 5-year-old girl went missing from a Bridgeton park, the story of her disappearance is scheduled to air Friday afternoon on the “Dr. Phil” show.
“What we want to do is find this child,” Dr. Phil says in a preview of the episode posted on his website. “This child’s life and safety needs to override everything else and let us find this child.”
Dulce Maria Alavez went missing from City Park Sept. 16. Police said the girl may have been taken by a man who led her away from the playground where she was playing with her 3-year-old brother. Her mother, 19-year-old Noema Alavez Perez, was sitting in her car with an 8-year-old relative when she lost sight of her children.
Alavez Perez, along with family spokesperson Jackie Rodriguez, will appear on the show to talk to Dr. Phil about how Dulce went missing and theories about what happened to her, according to preview videos posted on the show’s website.
Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae confirmed Friday that the investigation is ongoing and active, and that the FBI and State Police are still in the county working with the Prosecutor's Office and city police, but that she could not comment on details of the investigation.
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Rodriguez has not yet returned a request for comment.
In previews for the episode, Dr. Phil asks Alavez Perez if police suspected her in Dulce’s disappearance, which she answers affirmatively.
“I don’t know why I don’t cry in front of people,” she said. “I’m not sure why – just when I’m by myself. I don’t even cry in front of my parents.”
She had to take a polygraph test, she said, during which officials asked her if she set up her daughter’s kidnapping or if she sold her daughter. She said she did neither, but never received the results of the test.
“I didn’t want to believe that somebody had took her,” Alavez Perez said, adding that, at first, she thought her daughter was playing hide-and-seek. “I was in shock.”
During Dr. Phil’s interview with Rodriguez, she revealed that she believes Alavez Perez knows more about her daughter’s disappearance than she is letting on.
“I’ve worked, sadly, with a lot of parents of children that have been abducted,” Dr. Phil said. “I have never worked with a mother that has been as emotionally flat about a missing child as Noema.”
Both agreed that Alaevez Perez “has not done something evil to her daughter.”
“She seems too calm,” Rodriguez said. “I feel like she knows that that child is ok. She’s missing her, but I feel like she knows she’s ok.”
So far, there has been a $52,000 reward for information leading to Dulce’s whereabouts. In one clip, Dr. Phil even offers to increase the reward to $75,000, if law enforcement say it’s ok.
Anyone with information can call Bridgeton police at 856-451-0033 or the FBI at 800-CALL-FBI, or text information to tip411 with the word “Bridgeton.” Pictures or videos can be uploaded to fbi.gov/alavez.
The show is scheduled to air at 3 p.m. on NBC.