New Jersey Urges Residents to Aid in Locating Missing Youth

State Police and Department of Children and Families collaborate on an urgent appeal to citizens for help in tracking down missing local children.

On National Missing Children’s Day, the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF), Office of the Attorney General (OAG), and the New Jersey State Police Missing Persons Unit have collectively called upon residents to be vigilant and help locate missing local youth.

With hundreds of children missing nationwide, including dozens from New Jersey, every case represents a unique story, a community in distress, and families longing for their return. While some children may have run away, others could be victims of kidnapping or human trafficking.

There's no greater fear for a parent than to imagine their child missing,” said DCF Commissioner Christine Norbut Beyer. “We encourage the public to notify State Police if they witness suspicious activity, spot a missing child, or suspect situations involving human trafficking or kidnapping. Together, we can bring these missing children back home.”

Public vigilance has proven crucial in locating missing children. Recently, a 15-year-old girl was found safe in North Carolina when a store owner, having watched her story on Netflix's Unsolved Mysteries, recognized her.

On this national day of awareness, Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin said, “We reaffirm our unwavering commitment to protecting New Jersey's children from harm. Ensuring the safety and well-being of our young people is a shared responsibility. The Office of the Attorney General, alongside parents, community groups, and law enforcement partners, will continue working towards their protection.”

Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the immense distress felt by families of missing children. He stated, “The New Jersey State Police and the Department of Children and Families are dedicated to reuniting these missing children with their families. But we cannot achieve this alone. If you suspect a child may be a victim of human trafficking or kidnapping, immediately contact State Police or your local law enforcement agency.”

DCF, OAG, and State Police have highlighted four specific missing children in New Jersey: 

9-year-old Dulce Alavez, missing from Bridgeton City Park since September 2019; 

17-year-old Hector Azor, missing from Paterson since last year; 

19-year-old Walter Chocoj-Balan, missing from North Bergen since July 10, 2020; 

and 17-year-old Angelica Santos Escobar, missing from Barnegat since January this year.

Ricardo Pina, Supervisor for DCF Security and Safety Operations, acknowledged the complexity of these cases, pledging DCF's commitment to work with State Police to ensure the swift and safe return of these children.

Anyone with information on these missing children should contact 911 or the State Police at 1 (609) 963-6900.

Dulce Alavez Dulce has been missing since September 2019, when she went missing from the Bridgeton City Park. The young Hispanic girl is 9 years old now.
Hector Azor Hector, 17, went missing from Paterson last year. He is Hispanic, 5’6” and 114 pounds.
Walter Chocoj-Balan Walter went missing from North Bergen and was last seen on July 10, 2020. He is Hispanic, 5’2”, 130 pounds and is now 19 years old.
Angelica Santos Escobar In January, Angelica went missing from Barnegat. She’s 17 years old, Hispanic, 5’8” and 150 pounds.
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