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Search for missing Calif. girl, 8, last seen riding scooter

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. --Police and volunteers were searching Monday for a missing 8-year-old girl a day after she vanished from a 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.

Witnesses and video surveillance placed Madyson at the complex around 5 p.m., police spokeswoman Joyce Blaschke said at a press conference Monday. The girl, who goes by "Maddy," hasn't been seen since.

"Timing is crucial," Blaschke said. "That's why we have every man on deck looking for Maddy."

The girl's mother, Laura Jordan, pleaded for the child's safe return Monday and said she has been very worried.

The FBI is now joining local and state investigators in the search. Helicopters are searching the forest and the coastline, and the U.S. Coast Guard has been scouring the ocean.

An Amber Alert hasn't been issued because it doesn't appear the girl was abducted and no one saw her being taken, reports the Los Angeles Times.However, an alert may be issued at a later time.

The girl's parents are cooperating with police, reports the paper.

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 when she vanished.

Volunteer David Giannini said he and his friends would do everything they could to try to find her.

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

Authorities are searching the woods and parks around the arts center and a nearby river levee.

The center provides affordable housing and studios to musicians, artists and dancers.

Santa Cruz police frequently patrol a bike trail behind the center along the river. The path has been a hotspot for drugs.

Anyone with information is asked to call 911.