Mother pleads for return of missing California 8-year-old

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Mother pleads for return of missing California 8-year-old
This undated photo provided by the Santa Cruz Police Department shows missing Madyson "Maddy" Middleton, from Santa Cruz, Calif. Madyson Middleton was last seen Sunday afternoon, July 26, 2015, riding a scooter outside the Tannery Arts Center in Santa Cruz, a beach town along the Northern California coast. The 4-foot-tall, a 50-pound child, has long brown hair, which was pulled to the side in a braid, and dark eyes. She was wearing a purple dress, black leggings, black flip-flops and a black helmet when she vanished. (Courtesy of Santa CruzPolice Department via AP)
A Santa Cruz County Sheriff search and rescue team member searches for clues in the disappearance of 8-year-old Madyson Middleton Monday, July 27, 2015, in Santa Cruz, Calif. Police and volunteers were searching Monday for a missing 8-year-old girl a day after she vanished from a Northern California artist community center where she lives with her mother. Madyson Middleton was last seen Sunday afternoon riding a scooter outside the Tannery Arts Center in Santa Cruz, a beach town along the Northern California coast. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
The Tannery Arts Center is seen Monday, July 27, 2015, in Santa Cruz, Calif. Police and volunteers were searching Monday for a missing 8-year-old girl a day after she vanished from a Northern California artist center where she lives with her mother. Madyson Middleton was last seen Sunday afternoon riding a scooter outside the Tannery Arts Center in Santa Cruz, a beach town along the Northern California coast. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
A search and rescue team walks along railroad tracks in a heavily wooded area near the Tannery Arts Center Monday, July 27, 2015, in Santa Cruz, Calif. Police and volunteers were searching Monday for a missing 8-year-old girl a day after she vanished from a Northern California artist community center where she lives with her mother. Madyson Middleton was last seen Sunday afternoon riding a scooter outside the Tannery Arts Center in Santa Cruz, a beach town along the Northern California coast. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

A search and rescue team from the Santa Cruz County Sheriff office listen to tips from a citizen Monday, July 27, 2015, in Santa Cruz, Calif. Police and volunteers were searching Monday for a missing 8-year-old girl a day after she vanished from a Northern California artist community center where she lives with her mother. Madyson Middleton was last seen Sunday afternoon riding a scooter outside the Tannery Arts Center in Santa Cruz, a beach town along the Northern California coast. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

A helicopter from the California Highway Patrol aids in the search for missing 8-year-old girl Madyson Middleton Monday, July 27, 2015, in Santa Cruz, Calif. Police and volunteers were searching Monday for a missing 8-year-old girl a day after she vanished from a Northern California artist community center where she lives with her mother. Madyson Middleton was last seen Sunday afternoon riding a scooter outside the Tannery Arts Center in Santa Cruz, a beach town along the Northern California coast. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) -- The mother of a missing 8-year-old girl pleaded for her safe return Monday as search efforts grew to include federal authorities.

Madyson Middleton vanished Sunday afternoon from an artist community and housing center in a Northern California beach town where she lives with her mother.

She was last seen riding her new, white scooter in the Tannery Arts Center courtyard, a place where children - both residents and those taking art and dance classes - frequently play. But at about 5 p.m. her mother realized she was gone.

Madyson's parents met with investigators Sunday night and again Monday at police headquarters before speaking with reporters outside; her mother Laura Jordan they said they were very worried and wanted Madyson home.

"I can't explain how difficult this is," said Jordan, who had searched through the night for her little girl.

Jordan said she's looked at surveillance video from their housing complex that watched Madyson's last minutes before she disappeared. She's walked the edges of the courtyard, and police have twice conducted a door-to-door search of the entire complex, as well as a homeless resource center and shelter across the street.

Beyond the 8-acre property, searchers from throughout the state are now in boats, helicopters, on foot and bike, with dogs and cameras, searching for the girl. The FBI, as well as sheriffs from San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, are assisting.

Authorities weren't sending volunteers onto adjacent hiking and biking trails for fear of disturbing potential evidence, but hundreds of volunteers showed up and were looking for her in neighborhoods and streets.

"This is our town, and this just shouldn't happen here. We all should do everything we can to find this girl," David Giannini said.

Authorities are using dogs to search nearby woods and parks and the San Lorenzo River levee. Helicopters are searching the forest and the coastline, and the U.S. Coast Guard has been scouring the ocean 2 miles from where she was last seen.

The 4-foot-tall, 50-pound child has long brown hair, which was pulled to the side in a braid, and dark eyes. She was wearing a purple dress, black leggings, black flip-flops and a black helmet.

She lived with her mother at the Tannery Arts Center, a public-private nonprofit project that includes 100 affordable loft apartments for artists and their families, a café, and dance and art studios on eight acres. The property, a former leather tannery, is managed by The John Stuart Company. The company declined comment Monday, citing the ongoing police investigation.

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