Father of missing New Jersey girl wishes her a happy 7th birthday and makes emotional plea for her safe return
Dulce Maria Alavez turns 7 today.
Her disappearance from Bridgeton City Park in New Jersey, nearly 18 months ago, remains a mystery.
Not much is known about her father, Edgar Perez, other than he lives in Mexico. According to investigators, he's been questioned regarding Dulce's disappearance, but has not been named a person of interest or suspect in the case.
Today, a man identifying himself as Dulce's father, posted a video on Youtube wishing her a happy birthday with "Las Mañanitas," a Mexican birthday song. He doesn't show his face, but you can hear his voice. The five-minute video includes never-before-seen footage of Dulce walking, hugging, and playing with who is presumably her dad.
"It's been almost two years since she disappeared at Bridgeton City New Jersey Park," says the voice behind the camera. "I'm really, really sad and hurt. I don't know where she is. I don't know who she is with. I don't know if my baby girl is ok. Like everyone, I want to know where she is."
We have not independently confirmed with investigators if that is indeed Dulce's father, but Dulce's maternal grandmother, Norma Perez, tells me that it is him talking in the video.
The man goes on to say that he helped take care of Dulce since she was a baby. "I know that most of you all think that I was never in her life, but let me tell you, guys, I took care of my daughter, too, since she was a little baby. I changed her diapers and did everything for her."
He explains that he saw his daughter as much as possible until he was deported right before Christmas in 2018, and vehemently denies having anything to do with Dulce's disappearance.
"I was in Mexico when everything happened. For those who think that I took my baby-girl, let me tell you that I got nothing to do with it."
Dulce was playing with her little brother near the swings at Bridgeton City Park on September 16, 2019. Their mother, Noema Alavez-Perez, and a younger relative stayed in the car some 30 yards away. Many, in the court of public opinion, believe Dulce's mother knows what happened to her daughter, but she has not been named a person of interest or suspect in the case. According to the FBI, Noema and her family have been questioned multiple times and her cell phones have also been checked.
Last September, the FBI said Dulce was possibly abducted by a Hispanic man seen at the playground at the same time she vanished, but local authorities are not ruling anyone or any theory out just yet.
According to news reports, Bridgeton Police continue pursuing leads and are "working on developments," but declined to elaborate.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is also working on an age-progressed image of Dulce to show what she would look like today.
Meanwhile, the soft-spoken man in the video, is asking everyone to keep Dulce in their prayers.
"Let's all pray for my daughter. Please, don't lose hope that Dulce Maria Alavez will be found soon."
Anyone with information on this case is urged to contact Bridgeton City Police at 856-451-0033 or the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI. You can submit an anonymous tip to the agency online. Si habla español llame al 1-856-207-2732. There's a $75,000 reward still being offered for information that leads to an arrest in this case.
For the past 44 years, more than 100 Pennsylvania State Police investigators worked tirelessly to solve the murder of a young, unidentified female they called Beth Doe.
From the original investigator to the now-retired Cpls. who pushed for DNA testing, to the troopers who arrested the alleged killer. All played a vital role.
Fast forward to March 2021. Suddenly the pieces of this decades-old puzzle started to fall into place. Thanks to forensic genealogy investigators now know 'Beth Doe' was Evelyn Colon of Jersey City, New Jersey. Colon, 15, was strangled, shot, and dismembered allegedly by her then 19-year-old boyfriend, Luis Sierra, of Ozone Park, New York.
"He was the last person to have been with Evelyn as they were living in an apartment in Jersey City in 1976," said Lt. Devon Brutosky, Troop N criminal investigation section commander.
Troopers, past and present, came together at a news conference at Lehighton Park Wednesday. They thanked the multiple agencies that played a part in solving the case, including the labs that examined the remains of the young mother and her full-term daughter: DNA Labs International of Florida, University of North Texas and NamUS, and Othram Inc. of Texas.
Earlier this year, Othram enhanced Beth Doe's DNA profile and uploaded it to a public DNA database. In late March they made the connection to the victim's nephew, Luis Colon Jr., who, according to his family, had uploaded his profile to a public DNA database with the hope of finding his aunt, Evelyn. Colon put investigators in contact with his father, Evelyn's older brother, who now lives in Stroudsburg, PA.
"We're elated that we can bring this to a conclusion," Brutosky said.
Investigators are not releasing many details about the case or their suspect. Sierra, a bus driver, now 63, was extradited to Pennsylvania on April 13. He's being held without bail at the Carbon County Correctional facility in Nesquehoning.
Despite an arrest in the case, investigators are still looking for information about Sierra, who was 19 when he allegedly killed Evelyn Colon. The mutilated remains of the 15-year-old from Jersey City and her full-term daughter were stuffed in three suitcases found along the banks of the Lehigh River in Carbon County, PA, on December 20, 1976. Her family never reported her missing.
Investigators are asking the public to call the tip-line if they knew Sierra back in the 1970's. Sierra, according to PSP, was a student at James Ferris High School in Jersey City, New Jersey.
If you have information that could help Pennsylvania State Police, please call the tip line: 1-800-4PA-TIPS. Reference Case No. 1956.
The last time Luis Colon saw his sister Evelyn was at their childhood home on Second Street in Jersey City, New Jersey, in December 1976.
She was 15 and he was 17.
Evelyn was nine months pregnant. According to Luis, she asked her parents for permission to move in with her baby's father, Luis Sierra, their 19-year-old neighbor.
“I want people to know that she was a nice lady who never bothered anyone," Luis said. "She was always a mama’s girl, but things changed when she fell in love."
Before moving, Evelyn had one last request.
“The last thing that she was telling my mother was if she could make her some Spanish food and bring it to the apartment." Luis recalls. "A few days later, they visit to bring her soup…a lady comes out and my father says, 'I'm looking for my daughter, Evelyn,' and she told him they moved out.” The family never saw or heard from Evelyn again.
Things took a strange turn the following month.
"The problem was that in January of 1977, my mother received a letter from Sierra stamped from Connecticut that he wrote, saying, 'Don't worry about them.' That they already had the baby. That it was a boy and that everything was fine," Luis said.
On December 20, 1976, the mutilated remains of a young female and her full-term daughter were found stuffed in suitcases near the banks of the Lehigh River in White Haven, Carbon County, Pennsylvania. Investigators spent the next four decades trying to identify the young mom. They exhumed her remains in 2007 to obtain her DNA.
On March 31, 2021, State Police identified the cold-case victim as 15-year-old Evelyn Colon of Jersey City, New Jersey. Her alleged killer Luis Sierra, now 63, of Ozone Park in Queens, New York, was charged with homicide and is awaiting extradition back to Pennsylvania.
Investigators have not released many details, but Luis told me by phone that his family continued to look for Evelyn for decades, but assumed the couple wanted to live a private life. The family, Luis said, did not file a missing persons report with police.
"No, after a couple years we went to the police department, but the police said you cannot report a person missing if they live with the person or unless she's held hostage from boyfriend you know of. So when we showed them the letter that was it." Luis said. "We tried, but we gave up a little bit and waited to see if she would show up in Jersey City.”
On February 22, 2021, Pennsylvania State Trooper Brian Noll, the lead investigator on the case, confirmed that they were in the process of uploading Beth Doe's DNA profile to private genealogy databases. State Police have not said what role it played in solving the case. However, Luis said his son's DNA, which he had uploaded to a public genealogy website, matched Evelyn's.
“Pennsylvania State Police reach out to my son and told him that his DNA matched a person that was murdered in Carbon County,” said Luis, who lives in Stroudsberg, PA. “For his DNA to match hers perfectly? Wow! This is incredible.”
According to published reports, Evelyn warned her family that Sierra was "abusive," and according to court records cited in the reports, Sierra would keep her locked in their apartment. State Police are not releasing additional details but say they are planning a press conference for next week.
Luis shared the only photos the family has of Evelyn, both were taken not long before she disappeared. The now 61-year-old retired musician gets emotional thinking about his parents who died not knowing what happened to their daughter or grand-baby.
“I took it hard you know, because my mom's last breath was find Evelyn." said Luis. "My father died last year. He used to call me all the time and he would say, 'Have you seen Evelyn on Facebook?' I said dad I’ve looked on the internet.”
As for Sierra, Luis hopes he gets the chance to see him in court.
"I want to look at his eyes and ask him, 'Why?' That's all I want to ask him ‘why?’ The baby…that's another thing... the baby. That was his baby. Why? Why?”
Tuesday evening the family started a GoFundme account to help raise money for a headstone for Evelyn and her baby. According to an update by Miriam Colon-Veltman, the account organizer, the family has decided to name Evelyn's baby Emily Grace Colon.
Evelyn Colon and her baby are buried at a potter's field in Weatherly, PA.
Click here to watch our original story about this case.
Update: Pennsylvania State Police turn to forensic genetic genealogy to help solve 'Beth Doe' murder
Case number N03-0027244 still haunts the Pennsylvania State Police. The victim was young, pregnant and possibly of Eastern European descent.
Four decades later, investigators still don't know her name. They call her 'Beth Doe.'
On Dec. 20, 1976, a teenager playing near the Lehigh River in Carbon County — approximately 80 miles north of Philadelphia — found the victim's mutilated remains and her full-term fetus stuffed in suitcases.
An autopsy determined the young mother had been strangled, shot, and dismembered. Her nose, ears, and breasts had been removed. No one has ever come forward to identify her, and without a name, the chances of finding Beth Doe's killer or killers (if they're still alive) are slim.
Investigators have exhausted all leads and are now turning to investigative genetic genealogy to hopefully crack the case.
Trooper Brian Noll, lead investigator on the case since 2019, confirmed via email that a private forensic lab was able to obtain a viable DNA sample from 'Beth Doe' which will soon be entered into genealogy databases.
"It should be uploaded this week," Noll said.
Using a public genetic genealogy database, investigators can compare DNA from an unknown person to other people to see if any of them are related.
The technique became a powerful crime-fighting tool following the 2018 arrest of serial murderer Joseph DeAngelo Jr. the so-called 'Golden State Killer' who eluded authorities in California for four decades. Since then, according to published reports, law enforcement agencies across the country have used public genetic databases to solve dozens of cases.
But due to privacy concerns, public databases such as GEDmatch, which investigators used to track down the Golden State Killer, have since updated their terms of service and no longer allow law enforcement to access DNA profiles to help solve crimes unless users agree to it.
Although the changes are not in law enforcement's favor, Noll remains cautiously optimistic about Beth Doe's case. "There is much less of a pool to compare to, but I'm still hopeful," Noll said. "We will see if there are any significant hits for possible relatives that can be followed-up on." The process could take weeks or months to complete.
Beth Doe and her baby are buried at a public cemetery in Weatherly Pennsylvania. You can watch our 2019 story about Beth Doe's case here.
September 16, 2019
The day life forever changed for Noema Alavez Perez when a trip to Bridgeton City Park in New Jersey turned into a never ending search for her daughter Dulce Maria Alavez.
Dulce Maria, 5, vanished without a trace and is believed to have been kidnapped possibly by a stranger.
I spent some time with Dulce's family recently. They want to tell their story in their own words without anyone else speaking for them. No questions were off-limits. The family has a message for Dulce, for the person who took her and for the community.
I also spoke with an FBI Special Agent who heads the East Coast Child Abduction Rapid Deployment Team which is assisting Bridgeton Police and New Jersey State Police with the investigation. He believes this was a crime of opportunity and says investigators need the community's help to solve this case.
A message to Dulce from her mom
Anyone with information on Dulce Maria Alavez is asked to call the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI, New Jersey State Police Missing persons Unit at 609-882-2000 ext., 2554, or Bridgeton Police at 856-451-0033.
Where is Dulce Maria Alavez?
A crime of opportunity is how a federal investigator describes the case of Dulce Maria Alavez who vanished while playing in Bridgeton City Park in New Jersey on September 16, 2019.
We spoke to Dulce's family and the FBI about the case. Was it a crime of opportunity? Has anyone been ruled out? And what is the family doing to keep Dulce's case in the public eye?
Investigators are still looking to identify a man who was seen in the area of the park where Dulce was playing. He's described as a Hispanic male, roughly 5'7", thin, with acne on his chin, and is 30-35 years old. He was last seen wearing a white t-shirt, blue jeans and a baseball-style hat.
Anyone with information on Dulce Maria Alavez is asked to call New Jersey State Police Missing Persons Unit at 609-882-2000, ext 2554, the Bridgeton Police Department at 856-451-0033 or the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI.
The holidays have come and gone, but there's still no sign of Dulce Maria Alavez.
The 5-year-old from Bridgeton, New Jersey, was kidnapped on September 16, 2019, during a family outing at Bridgeton City Park.
An Amber Alert remains in effect and a $75,000 reward is being offered to anyone with information leading to her whereabouts. Although they've received thousands of tips, efforts to find Dulce Maria by local, state and federal law enforcement have been unsuccessful.
A mother's desperate plea for her daughter's safe return
Volunteers have also been doing their own searches of the surrounding area. We spoke to Dulce's mother Noema Perez Alavez during a search on January 5. Click on the video to hear what she had to say.
Anyone with information on Dulce Maria Alavez is asked to call New Jersey State Police Missing Persons Unit at 609-882-2000, ext 2554, the Bridgeton Police Department at 856-451-0033 or the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI.
May 3, 2020 will mark the third year anniversary of Akia Eggleston's disappearance. The case continues to generate national media coverage, but there are still no answers as to what happened to the 22-year-old mom.
Akia, a resident of Baltimore, Maryland, was eight months pregnant when she vanished four days before her baby shower was to take place.
We were first to obtain exclusive images of Akia captured by a security camera from a bank in the Inner Harbor on May 3, 2017, that's the day investigators believe she disappeared.
Investigators also suspect foul play and have reportedly interviewed over 100 individuals, but they have not named any suspects and there have been no arrests in the case.
Much has been said about the man believed to be the father of Akia's unborn child. The man, who was also a childhood friend of Akia's stepfather, has never spoken publicly about his alleged relationship with Akia or about her disappearance. There are plenty of rumors, speculation, and gossip circulating on social media, but if there is evidence that directly ties him or anyone to Akia's disappearance, investigators are keeping their cards very close to the vest.
Since police have not publicly released his name, we are not publishing it on this site, either. However, through our reporting, we've been able to confirm that the individual and his current girlfriend and mother of at least two of his children, have been questioned twice by Baltimore City Police.
I recently made contact with someone who knows the man believed to be the father of Akia's unborn son. The source asked not to be identified but did share with me that he has not spoken to the individual in person since Akia disappeared and does not want him around his family. The source also explained that he has spoken at great length with authorities and with Akia's stepfather. Below is some of what the source said:
"I only knew Akia for a short time but grew up with her step dad when I was in elementary school. I have nothing but love and hope for him, and I hope that he finds her cuz whatever happened ain't right. I have a daughter, and I can't imagine my daughter missing and her not being found."
The source says that he doesn't know where the individual is currently living but finds it hard to believe that he would've harmed Akia.
"I'm not happy about Akia missing and him avoiding the situation. I would never support a tragedy like this. He's not that type of person to harm or have someone missing."
Why hasn't the alleged father of Akia's baby contacted her step-father or helped search for her or made a public plea for her safe return? To that the source said the following:
"If I ever see him I'd probably punch him in the face cuz if he didn't do it, he should have said something. This is crazy, but he not gonna talk to me cuz he know people gonna ask me first about him, and I already been to the police station and talked to the FBI for 4 hrs."
The source stressed that he doesn't want his name made public because he has a family and doesn't want to be harassed. On a final note he said this about Akia:
"I talked to her stepdad and told him everything I know that he asked. That is all I have to say, and, again, I hope and pray to God that she is found safe and alive!"
Our calls and messages left for the man believed to be the father of Akia's son have gone unanswered. If he's reading this, hopefully he and/or his girlfriend will reach out to us. They deserve a chance to be heard. Baltimore City Police have reportedly narrowed their focus down to about a dozen individuals, but they have yet to name any suspects in the case. As they stated to me from the start of this investigation, "This is a real whodunnit."
Anyone with information on Akia Eggleston's whereabouts is urged to call Baltimore City Police at 410-396-2499. A combined $25,000 reward is being offered in this case.
You can follow our exclusive ongoing coverage of Akia Eggleston's disappearance on this site and also on Youtube.
Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Brian Noll confirms that Maggie Cruz is not Beth Doe.
Noll says that Maggie had been reported missing out of Framingham, Massachusetts, more than 40 years ago. Police there were able to find a missing person report which contained her social security number and with that, Noll said, he was able to track her down.
Trooper Noll says he spoke with Maggie this morning. "She was relieved that it wasn't her," said Noll. "She is alive and well and is living in New Jersey."
Jane Foust had contacted Pennsylvania State Police in April of 2019 because she believed that Beth Doe could be her foster sister. She stated that the two ran away to Tarrytown, New York, in 1973, and that was the last time and place she saw her.
Foust told investigators that she received a call from her foster sister in 1976 saying she was pregnant and needed money. She never heard from her again after that.
Investigators followed the tip and reached out to the public for help in locating "Maggie" in order to confirm or rule her out as their "Beth Doe." Pennsylvania State Police have been trying to solve the "Beth Doe" case for decades but no family has ever come forward to identify the young woman. "The search for new leads in the Beth Doe case continues," said Noll.
This new development eliminates "Maggie" as "Beth Doe" and also closes the missing persons report in Framingham, Massachusetts. Foust says she's relieved to learn that her foster sister is alive and well and would really like to connect with her.
Anyone with information about "Beth Doe" should contact PA State Police or The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-The-Lost.
Claudia Rivero Reporter and Producer