October 17, 2012

Hunting season brings hope in Ayla Reynolds case

Hunters often prove helpful in finding clues to missing people.

By Ben McCanna bmccanna@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

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FILE - This undated file photo obtained from a Facebook page shows toddler Ayla Reynolds, missing in Waterville, Maine. Reynolds was reported missing on Dec. 17, 2011 from the Waterville, Maine home of her father Justin DiPietro. With the reward expiring and the victim believed to be dead, the family is trying to move on despite not knowing what happened to the missing toddler. (AP Photo/obtained from Facebook, File)


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File photo by David Leaming Department of Public Safety Spokesman Steve McCausland, right, gives an update on the extensive search for Ayla Reynolds along the Kennebec River in this file photo from July 17. At left is Lt. Kevin Adam of the Maine Warden Service.

Additional Photos Below

In March, during a day-long search in Waterville, Oakland, Fairfield and Norridgewock, police found the remains of Waterville resident Steven C. Brandon, who had been missing since February 2004, on the bank of Messalonskee Stream.

More recently, on Oct. 5, state police detectives returned to Messalonskee Stream after it had been drained by Kennebec Water District for routine maintenance. Detectives covered a half mile of riverbank upstream and downstream of the North Street bridge, but found nothing related to Ayla.

Ayla was reported missing on Dec. 17 by her father, Justin DiPietro. No one has been named as a suspect or a person of interest. DiPietro contends that Ayla was abducted. Investigators say a kidnapping did not happen 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, something Pomerleau tries not to think about.

"I understand there's a very good probability -- based on what law enforcement has said -- that she's not going to be found alive, but we're keeping that slim hope alive," he said.

State police are asking that anyone with information call them at 624-7076. To learn more about the hunter awareness program or to volunteer, visit unitedforayla.com.

Ben McCanna -- 861-9239


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Additional Photos

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File photo by David Leaming Members of Maine Search and Rescue Dogs assemble at the Pan Am railroad yard in Waterville after searching the area for evidence of missing toddler Ayla Reynolds, in this file photo from July 17.


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