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Entries in Ayla Reynolds (10)

Saturday
Apr282012

Missing Maine Toddler Ayla Reynolds: Police Investigate Items Found in River

ABC News(WATERVILLE, Maine) -- Police investigating the disappearance of Ayla Reynolds are analyzing objects found in the Kennebec River in Waterville, Maine, but have not said whether they are related to the missing toddler, who vanished from her father’s home on Dec. 17, 2011, according to ABC News affiliate WCVB.

Waterville Department of Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland told the Morning Sentinel that police do not know whether the items, which were found Wednesday, are connected to the case of the missing toddler, who turned 2 years old on April 4.

“Some items were recovered from the Kennebec River yesterday,” McCausland told the Morning Sentinel Thursday. “The items have been taken to the state police crime laboratory for analysis.”

In late March, after the winter snow melted, Maine police intensified their search for the toddler. Organizers implored landowners in the area to watch for anything unusual on their property that could be related to the case.

Ayla’s’ father, Justin DiPietro, told police in December that he believed his daughter was snatched from the bedroom of their Waterville home between her 8 p.m. bedtime on Dec. 17 and when he checked her bedroom in the morning.

Within days what began as the search for a missing child turned into a criminal probe, after investigators discovered blood in the basement of the home.

“What [police] were unwilling to confirm to the press, but left to our discretion, is that it has already been determined to be Ayla’s blood,” the family said in a statement. “Even in light of this evidence we are more determined than ever to find out what has happened to Ayla and we still cling to the hope that she is alive and will be returned to us. We urge anyone that has information about Ayla to come forward now and unburden yourself of the truth.”

DiPietro, 24, and Trista Reynolds, 23, Ayla’s mother, who does not live in the home and was forced by Child Protective Services to place Ayla in DiPietro’s full-time care when she checked into rehab, have taken police-administered lie-detector tests.

Reynolds told WCVB that the test administrator concluded that she could not complete the test because of a medical condition.

DiPietro has said publicly that he passed the test, though Maine State Police would not comment on his claim.

Reynolds previously alleged that her daughter was bruised the last time she saw her, though DiPietro countered that those claims amounted to “accusation and insinuations.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Feb042012

Ayla Reynolds: Windows Broken at Missing Maine Toddler’s House

ABC News(WATERVILLE, Maine) -- Two windows were smashed at the home of missing toddler Ayla Reynolds, police said Saturday.

Officers responded to a 911 call at the Waterville, Maine, home around 11:15 p.m. Friday night after Reynolds’ grandmother, Phoebe DiPietro, said she heard someone throwing things through windows at the house.

“No rocks or thrown objects were recovered, leading officers to believe that the windows were damaged by a bat or some other object that was carried away from the scene,” Waterville Police said in a statement.

Police conducted a search of the surrounding area, but it did not turn up any leads.

The 20-month-old has been missing from her home since Dec. 17.

Reynolds’ father, Justin DiPietro, 24, told police he last saw his daughter when he put her to bed that night.

Police have classified the disappearance as a crime and have found traces of Ayla’s blood in a basement her father had been using as a bedroom.

“What [police] were unwilling to confirm to the press, but left to our discretion, is that it has already been determined to be Ayla’s blood,” the statement said. “Even in light of this evidence we are more determined than ever to find out what has happened to Ayla and we still cling to the hope that she is alive and will be returned to us. We urge anyone that has information about Ayla to come forward now and unburden yourself of the truth.”

Officials searched parts of the Kennebec River Friday, but did not find anything new.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan312012

Missing Maine Toddler: Adults Withholding Info, Police Say

ABC News(WATERVILLE, Maine) -- Police investigating the disappearance of Maine toddler Ayla Reynolds have turned their focus to the three adults who were in the home with the girl the night she was last seen, saying that the evidence doesn't point to an abduction.

In what is being called the most intense investigation launched in Maine within the last decade, state police are now saying they believe the adults inside the house the night Ayla disappeared know more than what they're saying.  Investigators are dismissing the basic premise that Ayla's father Justin DiPietro has suggested all along that his 20-month-old was abducted on Dec. 17.

"We have searched that home and we have found not one piece of evidence to lead us to believe Ayla was abducted," Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said.  "We think one or all three of the adults have info they haven't told us and we need that info in order to find Ayla."

Recently, police revealed that evidence found at the home includes Ayla's blood, which was discovered in the partially-finished basement that her father used as his bedroom.  While investigators will not say how much blood was discovered, they told Ayla's mother Trista Reynolds that it was "more than a small cut would produce."

"There was blood found and it wasn't just a small amount … I don't want it to be real," she said.

Trista Reynolds, 23, was in a substance abuse rehabilitation program at the time of her daughter's disappearance, and baby Ayla had been placed in her father's care while she was seeking treatment.

On the night that the girl was last seen, DiPietro, 24, and his girlfriend, along with her small child, were allegedly in the basement of the Waterville home.  DiPietro's sister was also in the house, along with her young child, in a bedroom on the main level, while Ayla was reportedly in an adjacent bedroom by herself.  DiPietro's mother was not at home that night.

"The adults inside that home say someone came into the house -- a small home -- went into a bedroom Ayla normally doesn't sleep in, took her, vanished in the night -- and not one of them heard or saw anything," McCausland said.

At a vigil for baby Ayla over the weekend where the child's parents saw each other for the first time since her disappearance, DiPietro refused to comment.

"I'm not here to answer any questions," he said.

While police say that DiPietro has been cooperating with the investigation, they say someone isn't telling the whole truth.

Police have not named DiPietro a suspect, or even a person of interest.  They say they have ruled no one out and no one in, and that they are no closer to solving this case than they were on the morning of Dec. 17 when Ayla was reported missing.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan302012

Ayla Reynolds Case: Blood Found in Home Belongs to Missing Girl

ABC News(WATERVILLE, Maine) -- Blood discovered in the home of the father of missing Maine toddler Ayla Reynolds did come from the girl and was, "more blood than a small cut would produce," the girl's family says investigators told them.

The family of the missing girl posted on the website set up to help find the 20-month-old on Sunday, sharing the details that investigators told them about the scene where the tot disappeared from her crib in December.

"What [police] were unwilling to confirm to the press, but left to our discretion, is that it has already been determined to be Ayla's blood," the statement said. "Even in light of this evidence we are more determined than ever to find out what has happened to Ayla and we still cling to the hope that she is alive and will be returned to us.  We urge anyone that has information about Ayla to come forward now and unburden yourself of the truth."

Ayla Bell Reynolds' father, Justin DiPietro, told police last month that he believed his daughter was snatched from the bedroom of the Waterville, Maine home she shared with him between her 8 p.m. bed time on Dec. 17 and when he checked her bedroom in the morning.

Within days what began as the search for a missing child turned into a criminal probe, after investigators discovered blood in the basement of the home.  The fact that blood was discovered in the home has only recently been revealed, as it, "would have interfered with the investigation," said Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

DiPietro, 24, and Trista Reynolds, 23, Ayla's mother, who does not live in the home and was forced by Child Protective Services to place Ayla in DiPietro's full-time care when she checked into rehab, have taken police-administered lie-detector tests.

Reynolds told ABC News affiliate WCVB-TV in Boston that the test administrator concluded that she could not complete the test because of a medical condition.

DiPietro has said publicly that he passed the test, though Maine State Police would not comment on his claim.

No one has been charged in the case, which has included law enforcement's aerial and foot searches of an icy river near DiPietro's home and the draining of a local stream.  The searches have yielded no clues.  A $30,000 reward is being offered for information leading to Ayla.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan192012

Missing Toddler's Mom Unable to Complete Polygraph

ABC News(PORTLAND, Maine) -- The mother of missing Maine toddler Ayla Reynolds attempted to take a polygraph test with investigators but failed to complete it due to a medical condition, she said in a message on her website.

Trista Reynolds announced she took the polygraph test Wednesday to answer questions about the disappearance of her 1-year-old daughter from the girl's father's house in December.

"According to the test administrator, who was very courteous and professional, I was unable to complete the test due to a medical condition," Reynolds wrote. "It was suggested to me that after treatment by a medical doctor I might be able to finish the test, but the investigating authority is content with the general outcome of the incomplete test (as it stands)."

She does not explain what the medical condition was and could not be reached for comment. The Maine State Police department would not comment on the polygraph test. 

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Reynolds had promised to make public the results of her polygraph test after Ayla's father, Justin DiPietro, took a test but did not release the results.

The toddler disappeared sometime between the night of Dec. 16 and the morning of December 17, after her father put her to bed and before he checked on her in the morning. Police have said they are treating it as a kidnapping, but have not named any suspects in the girl's disappearance. They have said the family has cooperated with authorities.

DiPietro and Reynolds were estranged at the time of the disappearance, and Ayla was living with her father while Trista Reynolds was in drug rehab, according to both families. Reynolds was in the process of trying to regain custody of Ayla, and had filed papers in court the day before the girl disappeared, she told ABC News.

Ayla was last seen wearing a green one-piece outfit with a soft cast on her arm, which was broken in an accidental fall just weeks before her disappearance, according to police.

Maine State Police, along with the Maine game warden service, and FBI, searched rivers and lakes in DiPietro's neighborhood in addition to checking area dumpsters and canvassing neighbors. The searches turned up nothing, police said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Dec312011

Missing Maine Toddler Ayla Reynolds: Police Suspect Foul Play 

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(PORTLAND, Me.) -- Maine authorities investigating what happened to toddler Ayla Reynolds now believe foul play was involved in her disappearance.

"We base our conclusions on evidence gathered by investigators during the past two weeks. This case has evolved from the search for a missing child to a criminal investigation," Waterville Police Department Chief Joseph Massey said in a statement tonight.

Ayla has been missing since Dec. 17.

Earlier this week, a $30,000 reward was being offered for information in the case. Investigators searched for the toddler through the holiday weekend. Police said they believe that additional leads that came in over the weekend were prompted by the coverage of the case on "America's Most Wanted."

The leads, however, have not yet led to any suspects and authorities are conscious of the time that has passed since Ayla was last seen.

"In most missing person cases, the longer the investigation goes on the more concerned we become that we can find the person safe, particularly when the case involves the most vulnerable members of our community such as children and seniors," Massey said earlier.

According to police, Ayla's father, Justin DiPietro, 24, said he put the child to bed the night of Dec. 16 in his home and awoke the next morning to find her missing. Police have said several other adults were in the home, including one nonrelative.

Reynolds was living with her father while the girl's mother, Trista Reynolds, 23, was in rehab for substance abuse.

Trista Reynolds' family said that the 20-month-old had been taken from their custody by the Department of Health and Human Services and placed with her father. Reynolds said the baby, who broke her arm at her father's house two weeks before she disappeared, had begun showing mysterious bruising on her leg.

While DiPietro did not comment on the girl's alleged injuries, he disputed the Reynolds family's account of Ayla's custody.

"Ayla was in my sole custody at the time of her disappearance per agreement between her mother and I, because she was unable to care for Ayla," he said in the statement, his first public comment since he reported Ayla missing. "I have shared every piece of information with the police."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Dec272011

Missing Toddler Ayla Reynolds: $30,000 Reward Offered

ABC News(WATERVILLE, Maine) -- A $30,000 reward is being offered in the case of missing Maine toddler Ayla Reynolds, the largest missing person reward in the state's history.

In announcing the reward, police said that they believe there is foul play in the disappearance of the 20-month-old girl who has been missing since Dec. 17.

"We are confident that Ayla did not let herself out of the house," Waterville Police Chief Joseph Massey said. "We believe that someone removed Ayla from the house, and that is where our investigation is focusing."

Massey and local attorney John Nale said that calls were pouring in from private citizens and businesses wishing to make donations for a reward, with the money adding up to $30,000.

"I am very hopeful that the offer of a large monetary reward may serve to spur someone to make the phone call we desperately want to receive, the call that will lead us to Ayla Reynolds," Massey said.

Investigators searched for the toddler through the holiday weekend. Police said they believe that additional leads that came in over the weekend were prompted by the coverage of the case on America's Most Wanted.

The leads, however, have not led to any suspects yet and authorities are conscious of the time that has passed since Ayla was last seen.

According to police, Ayla's father Justin DiPietro, 24, said he put the child to bed the night of Dec. 16 in his home, and awoke the next morning to find her missing. Police have said several other adults were in the home, including one non-relative. Reynolds was living with her father while the girl's mother, Trista Reynolds, 23, was in rehab for substance abuse.

Police have said both parents have been cooperative, but investigators still have no sense of what happened to Ayla.

Investigators are asking that anyone with information about Ayla please call the Waterville Police Department at 207-680-4700.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec212011

Ayla Reynolds' Dad Has 'No Idea' Where Daughter Went

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WATERVILLE, Maine) –- The father of missing Maine toddler Ayla Reynolds has spoken out for the first time since the girl's disappearance Friday, disputing remarks by the girl's mother and maintaining his innocence.

Justin DiPietro, 24, who reported Ayla missing Saturday morning, released a statement through the Waterville, Maine, police.

"I have no idea what happened to Ayla, or who is responsible," he said. "I will not make accusations or insinuations towards anyone until the police have been able to prove who's responsible for this."

According to police, DiPietro said he put the child to bed Friday night in his home, and awoke Saturday to find her missing. Police have said several other adults were in the home, including one non-relative. Reynolds was living with her father while the girl's mother, Trista Reynolds, 23, was in rehab for substance abuse.

On Tuesday, Trista Reynolds' family said that the 20-month-old had been taken from their custody by the Department of Health and Human Services and placed with her father. Trista Reynolds said the baby, who broke her arm at her father's house two weeks ago, had begun showing mysterious bruising on her leg. While DiPietro did not comment on the girl's alleged injuries, he disputed the Reynolds family's account of Ayla's custody.

"Ayla was in my sole custody at the time of her disappearance per agreement between her mother and I, because she was unable to care for Ayla," he said in the statement, his first public comment since he reported Ayla missing. "I have shared every piece of information with the police."

DiPietro also contradicted Trista Reynolds' claim that the two parents had not been in contact in recent weeks. Reynolds told ABC News earlier this week that she had filed for sole custody of Ayla on Thursday, but had not told DiPietro and had not spoken to him recently.

"Contrary to some statements floating around out there, I have been in communication with Ayla's mother over the last couple of weeks," DiPietro said. "The Waterville police have transcripts from my phone for verification of those communications."

DePietro reiterated that he was cooperating fully with police, providing them with any information they requested. Police have said both parents have been cooperative, but investigators still have no sense of what happened to Ayla.  

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec212011

Missing Maine Toddler Ayla Reynolds Had Unstable Home Life

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WATERVILLE, Maine) -- Details of an unstable home life have emerged in the case of missing Maine toddler Ayla Reynolds, who vanished from her father's house Friday night.

Reynolds was reported missing Saturday morning by her father, Justin DiPietro, who told police he put the 20-month-old to bed on Friday night and found her missing the next morning.  The girl had been placed in his custody just weeks before by the Department of Health and Human Services because her mother, Trista Reynolds, had entered rehab for substance abuse, according to Trista Reynolds' relatives.

The toddler's grandmother, Becka Hanson, told the Morning Sentinel newspaper that she had been watching Ayla while her daughter, Trista, was in rehab, but that Ayla was taken by the DHS and placed with DiPietro.  Trista's other child, a 9-month-old, remained in the Reynolds' family custody.

Trista and her 9-month-old son are currently living in a motel in South Portland, according to Hanson.  Trista Reynolds had filed to regain custody of her daughter on Dec. 15, the day before the disappearance.  She told ABC News that DiPietro did not know she had filed the paperwork.

According to Trista's step-sister, the missing girl had recently broken her arm at her father's house and had begun showing bruises on her skin, the Morning Sentinel reported.

Waterville police chief Joseph Massey has said the girl broke her arm during an accidental fall.

Police are continuing their search for the girl after canvasses of a nearby river and aerial searches turned up nothing.  Massey said the police are following every lead that comes in from the public, and have not ruled out abduction.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec192011

Missing Maine Toddler: River Search Turns Up Nothing

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WATERVILLE, Maine) -- The search of a river Monday morning in Waterville, Maine, failed to turn up any traces of 20-month-old Ayla Reynolds, the toddler who disappeared from her bed Friday night.

Reynolds was reported missing around 8:50 a.m. Saturday by her father, Justin DiPietro, according to police. DiPietro said he had put his daughter to sleep the night before, and found that she had disappeared that morning. Several other adults were at the home Friday night with DePietro, including one who was not a family member, police said.

Reynolds' mother, Trista Reynolds, shared custody of the girl with DiPietro and was living separately from him, according to police.

Waterville police chief Joseph Massey said Monday that the state police, game wardens and FBI are involved in the search, with more than 75 law enforcement agents now helping the investigation. Twenty-five agents helped conduct the river search, which Massey called a "logical" step because of its proximity to the place Ayla was last seen.

Massey maintained that the families of the girl have cooperated with police and that there are no suspects. Police are treating the situation as a missing persons case, he said.

Earlier Monday, Trista Reynolds revealed she had filed to receive full custody of the girl just prior to her disappearance from her father's home.

Reynolds says she filed paperwork Thursday to receive full custody of her daughter one day before the tot went missing, but says she had not told the girl's father.

"Her father had no idea. He didn't know I went to file … he'll know now, but I never told him and no one told him," she said.

Justin DiPietro lives separately from Trista Reynolds, who, according to police, has no permanent address, and the two share custody of their daughter. Trista Reynolds says she has not spoken to him since their daughter disappeared.

"I've had no contact with him; he's had no contact with me. All I know is he's the last man to see my daughter," she said. "He helped out, he would take care of her until I was on my feet, but we've been unable to get along and parent together the last few weeks."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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