By The Associated Press
WATERVILLE, Maine (AP) — Police who confirmed the discovery of blood from a missing toddler in the basement of her father’s home said Monday that they’ve found no evidence to support an abduction and that they believe adults in the home know more than what they’re telling investigators.
Six weeks after Ayla Reynold’s disappearance, state and local detectives believe the father, Justin DiPietro, and two other adults in the home on the night Ayla was last seen are not giving a full account of what happened, said Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.
The idea that someone sneaked into the small house and took Ayla without awakening any of the adults “doesn’t pass the straight-face test,” McCausland said.
“We’ve followed every conceivable piece of evidence that would follow their version of events, and we have found not one piece of evidence that supports an abduction,” he said.
Ayla was 20 months old when she disappeared on the night of Dec. 16. She had been staying with her father at the time in the Waterville house where DiPietro lives with his mother. Ayla’s mother, Trista Reynolds, lives in Portland.
DiPietro reported Ayla missing the following day. He said he’d put her to bed the night before and she wasn’t there the next morning.
Over the weekend, state police confirmed that blood was found in the basement where the father slept and that some of the blood was Ayla’s. Relatives reported on a family-run website that they were told the blood was “more than a small cut would produce,” but police on Monday declined to say how much blood was discovered.
On the night Ayla was last seen, DiPietro was in the home with his girlfriend, Courtney Roberts, and they slept with Roberts’ child in the partially finished basement, McCausland said. DiPietro’s sister was sleeping with her young child on the main level of the one-story home, and Ayla was in a bedroom by herself on the main level, McCausland said Monday. DiPietro’s mother was not home that night.
Justin DiPietro declined to comment Monday, brushing past an Associated Press reporter outside his house without addressing questions before going inside and emphatically closing the door. The AP couldn’t find phone numbers for his girlfriend or his sister.
Residents seemed perplexed by the developments, which came after massive searches by game wardens, police, the FBI and divers.
“It sounds like something is fishy to me. Somebody’s hiding something,” Mike King said Monday outside City Hall.
Trista Reynolds’ father said the family was told late Saturday by McCausland that blood found in the home was Ayla’s.
Ronald Reynolds said he’s convinced that the adults in DiPietro’s house have more information than they have shared.
“Every day, it gets hotter and hotter,” he said. “I hope they pull them back in, set them down and give them the opportunity to say something.”
The family-run website issued an appeal for anyone with information about Ayla to come forward.
“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,” the website said. “We urge anyone that has information about Ayla to come forward now and unburden yourself of the truth.”