WATERVILLE, Maine – Two of the state's top homicide prosecutors have been called to the Maine home of a missing 20-month-old girl, but authorities continue to treat the disappearance as a missing child case.
As the search for Ayla Reynolds entered its sixth day, Waterville Police Chief Joseph Massey told reporters during an afternoon press conference that the investigation is focused closely on the girl's Violette Avenue home. Crime-scene tape surrounding the home and the presence of two homicide prosecutors are merely investigative tools, he said.
Police are also using cadaver dogs in an area near the city's airport in the search, Massey said.
Ayla was reported missing Saturday by her father, Justin DiPietro, who told police he last saw her when he put her to bed Friday night.
On Wednesday, 50 trained volunteers from the Maine Search and Rescue Association joined 75 to 80 law enforcement officers already participating in the search for the girl, which entered its sixth day Thursday.
"I can tell you, they are working just as hard as if it was their own child," Waterville City Manager Mike Roy told the group at the vigil at the First Congregational Church, where a photo of a smiling Ayla, a few children's drawings and stuffed toys contributed by local families formed a centerpiece at the front of the pews.
Residents prayed, sang hymns and offered one another support and hope during the service, which was moved indoors because of freezing rain and low temperatures.
"I want to support the family," Cori Cote said as she held her 16-month-old daughter before the vigil. "I couldn't imagine losing my little girl. I want Ayla back safe."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.