Disappearance of Ayla Reynolds

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Ayla Reynolds was a 20-month-old toddler from Waterville, Maine, who disappeared on Dec. 17, 2011.[1][2] She was last seen at 10 PM on the evening of December 16, in her bed by a family member, but was found missing by her father the next morning.[3] The search for Ayla is the biggest search for a missing person in state history, and the third-largest in national history.[1][4] Ayla's disappearance is believed to be the result of "foul play".[5]


Ayla Reynolds is the daughter of Trista Reynolds and Justin DiPietro.[6] Neither have been charged in relation to the case; however, State investigators and Trista Reynolds have both stated that they believe DiPietro has not been forthcoming about his knowledge of Ayla's disappearance.[2][6]

Night of Ayla's disappearance[edit]

Ayla had been sent for a stay with her father, Justin DiPietro, by her mother and primary caretaker, Trista Reynolds.[7] Trista had sent Ayla to stay with Justin while Reynolds attended a substance abuse recovery program.[7] She was reported missing from her bed on December 17, 2011.[7][8] According to DiPietro and police, the last time he saw Ayla, she was wearing green polka dot pajamas with "Daddy's Princess" written across them, along with a soft cast on her left arm.[8] There were two people besides DiPietro in the house at the time of Ayla's disappearance - his girlfriend Courtney Roberts, and his sister Alisha DiPietro.[7]

A news conference was held by state police in May 2012 to discuss recent developments in the case, such as the discovery of blood in her father's house and the number of people who were present at the time of her disappearance.[9] The blood was confirmed to be more than a cupful of Ayla's blood, adjacent to DiPietro's bed.[10] The only comment state investigators made at the time of discovery was made was that it was 'more blood than a small cut would produce.'"[11]

Search efforts[edit]

Following Ayla's disappearance, a reward of $30,000 for information leading to her safe return was posted by various Waterville businesses.[7] The reward generated approximately 1,200 leads, many of them from psychics, none of which led to the discovery of any information regarding Ayla.[12]

DiPietro did not speak about his daughter's disappearance for almost three weeks after the story broke.[2][5] As a result, Ayla's mother accused him of having something to hide.[5]

DiPietro, his brother Lance, and a mutual friend collaborated with the Laura Recovery Center to produce tshirts, buttons, flyers, and other goods to spread awareness of the disappearance.[5][13]

Nearly a full year later, in October 2012, police trawled Messalonskee Stream a second time to look for Ayla's remains, when construction workers repairing a bridge artificially lowered the water level in the stream. Nothing was found.[14]


At the one-year anniversary of Ayla's disappearance, the Maine State Police, Maine Warden Service, and Waterville Police stated that they will not let up on search efforts until Ayla is found.[4] Two searches conducted earlier that month in southern New Hampshire and in Mayfield turned up nothing.[4]

A candlelight vigil was held in Waterville to mark one month of Ayla's being missing, and was attended by DiPietro.[13][15] He was also the first to leave the vigil and refused to speak to the media.[13] Trista organized a 4 miles (6.4 kilometres) walk in Waterville called the "Eyes Open" walk, as well as a similar walk in Portland, in May and July 2012, in order to keep media attention on the case.[16][17]

A local songwriter, Pete Haase, wrote a song about Ayla's disappearance and the effect it had on the community.[18]

Justin DiPietro was arrested on July 6, 2013, on an unrelated domestic violence assault charge.[1][6]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Associated Press (July 15, 2013). "Missing Maine toddler's dad faces assault charge". Boston Herald (Boston). Herald Media. Retrieved July 15, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c "Ayla’s mom says toddler’s father isn’t telling ‘the whole truth’". Bangor Daily News (Bangor, Maine). Associated Press. Jan 10, 2012. Retrieved July 15, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Missing Children". Huffington Post. 2013-06-27. Retrieved July 15, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c Barber, Alex (December 14, 2012). "Police vow commitment to solving Ayla Reynolds disappearance". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved July 20, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Baby Ayla’s mom ‘not getting the whole truth’". The Today Show. January 10, 2012. NBC. http://www.today.com/video/today/45940014.
  6. ^ a b c Koenig, Seth (July 15, 2013). "Father of missing toddler Ayla Reynolds arrested for domestic assault in separate incident". Bangor Daily News (Bangor, Maine). Retrieved July 15, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Cousins, Christopher; Koenig, Seth (May 31, 2012). "Police say it is ‘highly unlikely Ayla Reynolds will be found alive,’ seek more information from father". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved July 20, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "Police: Disappearance of Ayla Reynolds involved foul play". Bangor Daily News. Dec 30, 2011. Retrieved July 20, 2013. 
  9. ^ "News conference to be held on Ayla Reynolds case". Bangor Daily News (Bangor, Maine). Associated Press. May 30, 2012. Retrieved July 15, 2013. 
  10. ^ Gilbert, Carol (February 12, 2013). "Ayla Reynolds Died in Father's House, Family Says". Yahoo! News. Retrieved July 20, 2013. 
  11. ^ Cousins, Christopher (January 29, 2012). "Police confirm blood found in toddler’s father’s home is Ayla’s". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved July 18, 2013. 
  12. ^ Adams, Glenn (June 29, 2012). "$30,000 reward for information about Ayla Reynolds expires Saturday". Bangor Daily News. The Associated Press. Retrieved July 20, 2013. 
  13. ^ a b c Cousins, Christopher (Jan 17, 2012). "Ayla Reynold’s father attends Waterville vigil in honor of missing toddler". Bangor Daily News (Bangor, Maine). Retrieved July 15, 2013. 
  14. ^ Barber, Alex (October 5, 2012). "Police search for signs of Ayla Reynolds in Messalonskee Stream". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved July 18, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Vigil to mark one month since disappearance of Ayla Reynolds". Bangor Daily News. Associated Press. Jan 17, 2012. Retrieved July 15, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Waterville walk organized to raise awareness for Ayla Reynolds". Bangor Daily News (Bangor, Maine). Associated Press. May 5, 2012. Retrieved July 15, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Trista Reynolds keeps attention on Ayla with Portland walk". Bangor Daily News. Associated Press. July 14, 2012. Retrieved July 15, 2013. 
  18. ^ Cousins, Christopher (February 16, 2012). "Waterville songwriter pens ‘A Song for Ayla’". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved July 18, 2013.