Shocked volunteers hunting for April Jones claim they are certain an outsider has targeted their community.
Hundreds of people took part in desperate late evening efforts to locate the five-year-old on Monday night.
Police have split the search parties into 10 groups of 20 people to search different areas, led by search-and-rescue experts.
The massive volunteer force was mobilised again this morning as efforts to search out the missing child were redoubled.
April Jones: She was out playing with friends when witnesses saw her getting into a van
Many spoke openly of their despair today that a defenceless youngster could be taken from the heart of the community.
Others believe that the close-knit tranquil market town of Machynlleth must have been purposely targeted by an outsider.
The Daily Mail reported that April's parents are Coral, 40, and Paul, 43, and locals said she came from a "loving home" with parents who are "beside themselves with worry."
A neighbour told the Daily Mail: "She is the apple of her parent's eyes - in Welsh we call her “cariad bach”, a little darling. They are a lovely people who dote on April."
She said April had a 16-year-old sister and a 10-year-old brother.
The quiet Mid Wales town, 25 miles north of Aberystwyth, is regarded as crime-free.
The edge-of-town Bryn-y-Gog estate from where April was abducted sits in a self contained rural setting on the way to nowhere else.
"I cannot imagine that anyone local is responsible for this," said shop owner Jacqueline Parsons, 53.
"I would be amazed if it turned out to be anyone local. Everyone knows everyone here. You walk down the street and even if you don't know someone's name you speak to them. Everyone is friendly."
She said she moved from England to the village of Aberangell, 10 miles away, a decade ago.
"In that time I have never known there to be any crime. People leave their backdoors open when they go out. It's that kind of place.
"This is so desperately sad. I hope it doesn't mean that the town will change and grow more suspicious.
"Whoever this turns out to be is not from around here."