Broward County sheriff's investigators on Monday asked the FBI to help search for a 7-year-old Riviera Beach girl who disappeared while visiting a flea market and circus with her mother.
Christina Holt was last seen by her mother, Pauline Zile, on Saturday in a restroom at The Swap Shop in Fort Lauderdale. She disappeared just after she and Zile had arrived for a day of fun at the entertainment and shopping complex an hour's drive from their Palm Beach County home.
Zile, 24, said her daughter didn't answer when she spoke to her from a stall in the restroom. Searches on Saturday and Sunday turned up no sign of the 3-foot-9, 44-pound girl.
The indoor-outdoor flea market was bustling with thousands of visitors, many of them families with children, but it appears that no one noticed what happened to the little girl in the white trousers with colored polka-dots, white sneakers and white shirt emblazoned with a brown teddy bear.
"As soon as we become aware of (the) circumstances, . . . that there may be an abduction, we immediately get involved," FBI agent Paul Miller said Monday.
"We have right now . . . a couple dozen agents in the field working with the Broward Sheriff's Office. We're doing a sweep of the area around the Swap Shop and we're conducting interviews along with (Sheriff's Office) detectives and deputies."
But Miller and Broward County Sheriff's spokesman Jim Leljedal said investi-gators had turned up few promising leads.
"In these types of cases, you assume sometimes the worst scenarios because time is of the essence," Miller said. "And you try to follow up any and all leads as quickly as possible."
Leljedal said it wasn't even clear investigators were dealing with an abduction.
"All we know is that we have a missing 7-year-old girl," he said shortly after sheriff's investigators met with FBI agents to go over the case. "We're proceeding to investigate it as an abduction, but there are many different avenues that we'll take.
"We don't have an indicator of anything. We have no choice at this point but to conduct a very intensive investigation looking at all possibilities."
Leljedal and Miller said agents would make contact with the missing girl's family in Maryland. That's where her father lives, and where she was raised most of her life by her paternal grandmother and by an aunt, Leljedal said. This past June, the grandmother voluntarily signed over custody of Christina to Zile, the girl's mother.
Christina then moved to Riviera Beach to live with her mother, her stepfather John Zile, and the couple's two sons.