WATERVILLE — The search for missing 20-month-old Ayla Reynolds expanded to new areas of the city Wednesday as investigators examined the onslaught of tips received from the public since the search began Saturday morning.

The search Wednesday widened to include the Kennebec River south of the Waterville-Winslow bridge, foot trails off Kennedy Memorial Drive near Shaw’s Plaza, woods near Head of Falls and a small pond on First Rangeway near the toddler’s Violette Avenue home.

“We continue to receive leads — we have approximately 165 leads that have come in since we started the investigation,” Massey told reporters at a Wednesday afternoon news conference. “The searches go on. We want to rule out every possible area that we can in our efforts to find Ayla.

“That’s our effort, that’s our focus, that’s our goal, that’s our aim. We will continue this investigation until we locate her.”

About 50 civilian volunteers from the Maine Association for Search and Rescue also joined the estimated 80 law enforcement officers, firefighters, game wardens and volunteers in a sweep of Waterville that has spread far from the girl’s immediate neighborhood.

“These are individual associations; we’ve used them on searches all over the state, usually for lost hunters, lost children,” Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland said Wednesday. “There are 50 of them — some of them with dogs. They’ve come in from all over the state, working with wardens and firefighters and they have fanned out all through the area.”

The Maine Marine Patrol also joined the search using boats on the Kennebec River south of the city center.

Ayla disappeared sometime Friday night or Saturday morning from the home she shared with her father at 29 Violette Ave. Her left arm is in a soft splint from a fall three weeks ago.

The FBI continues its work on the case, visiting homes in the area and talking to residents. The original grid search included Oakland Street, Mathews Avenue, Violette Avenue and Clearview Avenue, all between Cool Street and First Rangeway.

Massey said Ayla’s parents, 24-year-old Justin DiPietro and her mother, Trista Reynolds, 23, are cooperating. He would not discuss who else was in the house Friday night, whether foul play is suspected or if there was blood or any other forensic evidence found in the house or garage.

He said it is still a missing child case.

Massey would not say if police have any suspects in the girl’s disappearance, nor would he discuss alibis given to police by those who have been interviewed.

He would not say why police seized two vehicles on Monday — one of them registered to DiPietro — or what authorities might be looking for in those vehicles. He would not say Wednesday if the parents have hired lawyers.

In a statement released to the Morning Sentinel Tuesday night, DiPietro said he had been given sole custody of the child. He also disputed reports that he and Ayla’s mother, who lives in Portland, didn’t talk after Ayla went to live with him.

Massey said DiPietro had produced his statement for investigators Tuesday afternoon without an attorney. The statement was delivered to the command staff Tuesday evening and a decision was made to share the document with the newspaper.

Ayla’s mother 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.

Other family members, including Ayla’s grandmother Becca Hanson, said Trista had gone into rehab for substance abuse and the state Department of Health and Human Services had turned the child over to DiPietro in October.

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 not provided details.

Ayla was reported missing by her father just before 9 a.m. Saturday, about 10 to 12 hours after he said she was put to bed.

She was last seen wearing green one-piece pajamas with polka dots and the words “Daddy’s Princess” on them. She is 2 feet, 9 inches tall and weighs about 30 pounds.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

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