WATERVILLE — A sport utility vehicle belonging to Ayla Reynolds’ father and another car were seized by police Monday at the Violette Avenue home of missing 20-month-old Ayla Reynolds as the investigation into her disappearance entered its third day.

Police, who have said it’s possible the toddler was abducted, said Monday that no one has been arrested in connection with the case.

The two seized vehicles were in the driveway at 29 Violette Ave., where Ayla lives with her father, 24-year-old Justin DiPietro. The SUV, a 1996 Ford Explorer with a sticker on the rear windshield for the United States Marine Corps, is registered to DiPietro, according to records from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. The car, a 2002 Hyundai, is registered to a Portland woman whose name is not being made public.

Waterville Police Chief Joseph Massey disclosed little new information during an afternoon news conference Monday, acknowledging only that a neighbor had reported hearing a motor vehicle arrive at the girl’s home Friday night.

Massey has said there were several adults at the home Friday night when Ayla went to bed. At least one of them was not a family member, he said.

“This is a missing person case,” Massey said, declining to share additional details.

Ayla Reynolds, wearing a soft cast from a broken arm, was last seen sleeping in her bed at about 8 p.m. Friday. DiPietro reported her missing Saturday at 8:51 a.m. when he found an empty bed, police said.

The girl’s mother, Trista Reynolds, 23, is living in Portland without a permanent address, Massey said.

Reynolds told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Monday that she had filed paperwork seeking sole custody of the toddler Thursday, the day before the toddler was last seen in her bed in Waterville.

“I’ve had no contact with him; he’s had no contact with me. All I know is he’s the last man to see my daughter, and all I want to know is where she is,” she said.

Reynolds had filed a complaint against DiPietro for determination of paternity, parental rights and responsibilities and child support, according to documents obtained Monday from Cumberland County Superior Court in Portland.

Reynolds said she hasn’t talked to DiPietro since Ayla was reported missing. The two live apart, with DiPietro in Waterville and Reynolds in Portland.

DiPietro could not be contacted for comment. and police were not allowing anyone near the Violette Street home.

Her nickname is ‘Buggy’

Becka Hanson, Trista’s mother and Ayla’s grandmother, said in a telephone interview that she believes the child should be with her in Portland, not with her father in Waterville.

She said the state Department of Health and Human Services took custody of the child in October and turned her over to DiPietro.

“My daughter went into rehab; me and my oldest daughter had Ayla, and DHS had her removed from us to go with her dad,” Hanson, 45, said. “I believe DHS did that because they don’t like my family. They had no reason to take Ayla.”

Hanson said Ayla was with her father when she broke her arm. Police have said the child’s arm was broken in an accidental fall about three weeks ago, but have declined to provide further details.

“Ayla is — was — a happy little girl; she enjoyed being with me and her mom,” Hanson said. “She always had a smile on her face, always. I’m trying hard not to think that (something bad) happened to her. Her nickname is Buggy — that’s my Buggy.

“She was born April 4. She was born on Easter Sunday, 2010. I want my granddaughter home. I want her safe. She needs to come home and be with us.”

Hanson said Ayla has a little brother, Raymond, nine months old, who lives with Trista Reynolds. They are staying in a motel in South Portland, Hanson said.

Massive search

Waterville police, Maine State Police, the Maine Warden Service and the FBI are conducting the investigation, which began with a 911 call to police Saturday, some 10 to 12 hours after Ayla was last seen.

As the search entered its third day, a Maine Warden Service plane circled overhead and wardens searched a stream near the father’s house. Residents joined in canvassing the neighborhood over the weekend for any signs of Ayla.

Some residents joined in the search. Carrie Harvey, who lives nearby, found a sippy cup lid in the neighborhood and turned it over to a warden.

“It’s sad. Christmas is right around the corner. My heart cries out for that lady,” Harvey, a mother of five, said of Ayla’s mother.

Massey said 70 law enforcement officers worked the search Monday, including 25 game wardens, who trolled the waters of icy Messalonskee Stream, a few blocks from the house, in an airboat and circled the area in an airplane.

“It’s a very open case,” Massey said. “We don’t want to miss anything along the way; we’re looking at every lead and all possibilities.”

Massey said the child’s parents are cooperating with the investigation.

He would not speculate if the child was still alive. Overnight temperatures have dipped into the low teens the last few days.

At the house and grounds at 29 Violette Ave., where the toddler was staying with her father, a mobile Maine State Police evidence response unit was parked in the driveway. Investigators took photos of the side door to the gray, vinyl-sided home in the quiet Waterville neighborhood; two state troopers and Waterville police officers were stationed outside.

The house is DiPietro’s childhood home, and he moved there four to six weeks ago, a neighbor said.

“It’s just so sad, so sad. I hope we end up with a live child,” said Ellen Paul, a retired Colby College employee who lives across the street from DiPietro’s home. “I’m heartbroken for anybody to go through that kind of pain.”

A state police special crime incident command and communications truck was in full operation in the Waterville City Hall parking lot. A command post was set up inside the city council chambers.

Massey would not say Monday if investigators suspected forced entry into the home or if they found blood or other forensic evidence in or around the house.

The search, he said, was concentrating around Messalonskee stream. He said police have received some important leads from the public.

“The focus, obviously is to bring Ayla Home — everybody is hoping for that,” Massey said.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Material from the Associated Press was used in this story.

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