Reward offered, search for girl intensifies

Posted at 1:09 PM, May 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-01 18:49:51-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- Hundreds of law enforcement officials are joining the search for missing 9-year-old Diana Alvares, and the reward for information leading to her return has been increased to $6,000.

Diana was last seen Sunday morning in her San Carlos Park home.  She is a Hispanic female, 4'4”, 95 lbs, dark hair, brown eyes, and has two scars on one of her legs.  She was last seen wearing an unknown color shirt, blue bottoms, unknown shoes, and may be carrying a green blanket with flower print.

Photos: Search for missing Fort Myers girl Diana Alvares

According to Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers, over 200 federal and  local law enforcement officers have joined the search for Diana, using foot patrols, ATV’s, Aviation, K-9, and the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team.

Friends and family have also launched an extensive search for the girl.

Many tips have already come in, and anyone who knows the whereabouts of Diana or spots her is asked to call 477-1000 or 911 immediately.

In addition to the $1,000 reward from Crime Stoppers, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has agreed to pay an additional $5000.00 for the safe return of Diana.

As search efforts to find Diana Alvarez were ramping up, her stepfather was losing hope.

“I feel like she’s not here no more. That’s what my heart’s telling me. I feel like she’s not here no more,” he said.

Even complete strangers who saw Alvarez’s pictures on Facebook wanted to lend a hand in the search.

“I am a single mom with two children, so I don’t know what it feels like, and it’s one of my worst fears,” Alma Velazquez said.

“That’s my worst nightmare. For it to actually happen is another thing,” Nicole Conners said.

A Lee County Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson said while they appreciate the public’s help, they’re asking citizens to hold off on searches.

“I think right now the police are kind of putting them off because they believe a crime has occurred and they don’t want everybody trampling over any evidence,” Walt Zalisko, a private investigator and former police chief, said.

He’s worked several missing persons cases and said the fact that Alvarez’s home is taped off is key.

“They’re looking at two scenarios possibly: an abduction or possibly a crime occurred within the house,” Zalisko said.

He said it’s critical Alvarez is found soon because the more time passes, the less likely she’ll be found alive. 


MORE: Many unanswered questions in search for missing Fort Myers girl