Ayla Reynolds: A Decade of Questions and the Ongoing Investigation

Ayla Reynolds was reported missing on December 17, 2011, from her grandmother's home at 29 Violette Avenue in Waterville, Maine. The report was made by her father, Justin DiPietro. At the time of her disappearance, Ayla was 20 months old. Despite the extensive efforts of the Maine State Police, Ayla has never been found, and no one has been charged in connection with her disappearance. The investigation has been noted as the most costly in the history of Maine State Police.

Trista Reynolds, Ayla's mother, has been a central figure in the ongoing search for her daughter. She has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Justin DiPietro, who reported Ayla missing. The lawsuit has been expanded to include Phoebe DiPietro, Justin's mother, and Elisha DiPietro, Justin's sister. Phoebe DiPietro owns the house from which Ayla disappeared. Court records indicate that while Phoebe was not at the house the night before Ayla was reported missing, Elisha was present.

The lawsuit alleges wrongful death, conscious pain and suffering, and wrongful interference with the body of a deceased person against all three defendants. Justin DiPietro also faces a count of breach of parents' duty of care to a minor child. The suit claims that there is sufficient evidence to allege that Phoebe and Elisha DiPietro, either individually or together with Justin, had the opportunity and means to cause severe injury to Ayla that led to her death. It also alleges that all three participated in an attempt to clean up and conceal blood stains found in multiple locations in the house before authorities arrived.

The Maine State Police have been actively involved in the investigation since Ayla was reported missing. Detective Sgt. Ryan Brockway, who has been on the case since 2013, is the current lead investigator. According to Brockway, leads come in about once a month, and these leads are not limited to the state of Maine; they also come from out of state. Each lead is followed up on meticulously. State police have consistently stated that those who were in the house at the time of Ayla's disappearance, including Justin DiPietro and a girlfriend of his who was present, know more than what they have disclosed. Authorities have found no evidence to suggest that Ayla was abducted from the home. The conditions on the night she disappeared were also noted; temperatures were just below freezing, and snow covered the ground, factors that were considered in the investigation.

William H. Childs, Trista Reynolds' attorney, has received documents from the Maine State Police investigation, including evidence and other materials. A forensic expert has been hired to review these materials. The Portland law firm Monaghan Leahy represents Phoebe and Elisha DiPietro in the lawsuit. Kenneth Pierce, an attorney at the firm, stated that they were retained by the homeowners' insurance carrier of Phoebe and Elisha DiPietro.

Justin DiPietro, whose last known address was in Winnetka, California, has always denied involvement in Ayla's disappearance. His attorney, Michael J. Waxman, has not returned calls seeking comment but has previously stated that the inclusion of Phoebe and Elisha DiPietro in the lawsuit could potentially delay progress in the case.

Trista Reynolds, now 35, lives in the Portland area and continues to care for her two other children. She and her family are still trying to raise money to help pay for legal costs, including the work of the forensic expert. A judge in 2017 declared Ayla dead, which paved the way for the wrongful death lawsuit to be filed.

The case remains open, and anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Maine State Police at 1-800-452-4664 or 207-624-7076.