December 14, 2012

Missing toddler's dad and his family talk to police

As lines of communication are re-opened, there's also a hint that a substance with DNA found in the basement might not be blood.

By BEN McCANNA Morning Sentinel

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Department of Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland answers questions from media about the ongoing investigation in to the search for missing toddler, Ayla Reynolds, during a news conference at the Forum in downtown Waterville on Friday.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seaman

Ayla Reynolds

Contributed photo

EVENTS FOR AYLA

• The Shining Hope for Ayla event will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday  at Riverton Community Center, 1600 Forest Ave., Portland, and includes food, beverages, a silent auction, door prizes and a flying lantern release. For more information, contact Cynthia Caron, president and founder of LostNMissing at 603-965-4621 or 603-548-6548.

• Peace for Ayla will feature caroling and a candle-lit walk. It begins at 6 p.m. Monday at the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, 36 Cool St., in Waterville. Participants will walk along Violette Avenue, the street where Ayla lived before she disappeared, and sing Christmas songs.

Police are interested in hearing from people who might have first-, second- or third-hand accounts of the circumstances surrounding Ayla's disappearance, "or specific items that might have been found."

Lt. Kevin Adam of the Maine Warden Service said his agency, along with the volunteer Maine Association for Search and Rescue, did smaller searches for Ayla.

The smaller searches -- combined with larger events that drew media coverage -- have shown no signs of Ayla in a 5-by-7-mile area around her home.

"As we keep moving forward, we'll keep expanding out and try to find where Ayla is," Adam said.

As recently as last month, two searches were done in the New Hampshire communities of Mayfield Township and Stoddard, in the southwestern part of that state. Those searches were based on tips, McCausland said.

New Hampshire State Police conducted the search in Stoddard.

McCausland reiterated that the case is still active and ongoing regardless of the approaching anniversary.

"To investigators, December 17 is a date on the calendar and does not change a thing about the scope of this investigation," he said. "We're working for little Ayla. That's who we're working for. The investigators are as committed today as they were a year ago."

Waterville Police Chief Joseph Massey spoke from a prepared statement, saying he's often asked whether he is frustrated by the pace of the investigation.

"My answer is simple," he said. "We cannot let ourselves become frustrated. We need to turn frustration into determination and commitment to moving this case forward, and that's what we're going to do."

No one has been named as a suspect or a person of interest in the girl's disappearance.

DiPietro contends that Ayla was abducted. Police say she was not and they believe the three adults who saw her last -- her father, aunt Elisha DiPietro and Courtney Roberts -- are withholding information in the case.

Investigators also believe Ayla is dead. State police are asking that anyone with information call them at 624-7076.

Morning Sentinel Staff Writer Ben McCanna can be contacted at 861-9239 or at:

bmccanna@centralmaine.com

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