January 1, 2012

A Timeline in the Ayla Reynolds Investigation

Timeline shows events related to the disappearance of Ayla Reynolds, the 20-month-old daughter of Trista Reynolds, 23, of South Portland and Justin DiPietro, 24, of Waterville.

click image to enlarge

A stretch of the Messalonskee River is drained as part of the intensive search for 20-month-old Ayla Reynolds in Waterville on Dec. 20.

MaineToday Media and The Associated Press file photos

Ayla Reynolds, Joseph Massey
click image to enlarge

On Dec. 20, a member of the Maine State Police reconstruction team takes samples from the Violette Avenue home where Ayla last was seen.

Additional Photos Below

Related headlines

Thursday, Dec. 15

Mother seeks custody

Trista Reynolds files complaint in Cumberland County District Court seeking full custody of Ayla, who had been in her father's care since October. That's when state social workers removed Ayla from Reynolds' care and she went into a drug-rehabilitation program.

Friday, Dec. 16, 10 p.m.

Ayla's last sighting

The last time Justin DiPietro sees his daughter, lying in her bed in their Waterville home. She is wearing one-piece pajamas bearing the words "Daddy's Princess." Her left arm, broken in an accidental fall three weeks earlier, is in a soft splint and a sling.

Saturday, Dec. 17, 8:51 a.m.

Ayla reported missing

DiPietro finds her bed empty and calls 911 to report Ayla is missing from their Violette Avenue home. Police say she could have been abducted or walked away, but couldn't "have gone very far." Waterville police and firefighters search neighborhood. State game wardens join in and conduct flyover. Waterville and Maine State Police detectives look for forensic evidence in DiPietro's house.

Sunday, Dec. 18

FBI joins search

FBI agents, two police dogs, neighbors and other volunteers join house-to-house and neighborhood search. Game wardens scour the banks of nearby Messalonskee Stream. Police say they've interviewed several adults who were in DiPietro's house when Alya was put to bed Friday night.

Monday, Dec. 19

Mother appears on TV

Police seize two vehicles, one of them registered to DiPietro, and say parents are cooperating with the investigation. Trista Reynolds appears on ABC's "Good Morning America" and HLN's Nancy Grace show. Search swells to 70 law enforcement agents, including game wardens, who troll Messalonskee Stream with an airboat and circle the area in an airplane.

Tuesday, Dec. 20

Father releases statement

DiPietro releases statement through Waterville police saying he doesn't know what happened to Ayla. Investigators drain a section of Messalonskee Stream looking for clues and examine dumpsters, garages, backyards, ball fields and wooded areas near the home. FBI Child Abduction Rapid Deployment Team canvasses Waterville neighborhoods. Police say they've received more than 100 tips from the public and "it's still a missing-child case."

Wednesday, Dec. 21

Search group joins effort

Search expands across Waterville with help from 50 members of the Maine Association for Search and Rescue. Nearly 100 people attend candlelight vigil at local church.

Thursday, Dec. 22

Crime-scene tape goes up

Six days into the search, investigators put crime-scene tape around DiPietro's house and intensify the search for clues. Two of state's top homicide prosecutors visit the house. Cadaver dogs join search.

Friday, Dec. 23

Mother blames father

Overnight snow ends large-scale ground seach. Trista Reynolds tells NBC's "Today" show that she blames DiPietro for not keeping Ayla safe and hopes her daughter will be home for Christmas. Police get media inquiries from across the country as interest in Ayla's disappearance grows. Dozens gather for candlelight vigil in Congress Square in Portland.

Saturday, Dec. 24

Police seek media break

Waterville police appeal for a break in media coverage so they can do their work "outside the microscope." Crime-scene evidence tape seals all doors and windows throughout the weekend.

Monday, Dec. 26

Someone took Ayla

Ten days into the investigation, police say they believe someone took Ayla from her home, acknowledging for the first time that they don't believe she left the house on her own. Community members offer $30,000 reward -- the largest ever in Maine. State police Evidence Response Team van is parked in driveway.

Tuesday, Dec. 27

Search continues

Investigators from four police agencies continue the search and follow up on more than 300 tips, but won't say whether they have any forensic evidence or suspects in the case.

Wednesday, Dec. 28

Father issues new statement

DiPietro issues a second statement through Waterville police, repeating that he doesn't know what happened to Ayla and thanking community members for their support. Warden service ends last of large-scale searches.

Thursday, Dec. 29

Mother appears on 'Today'

Trista Reynolds appears on "Today" show, pleading with DiPietro to communicate with her. Police end regular surveillance of DiPietro's home.

Friday, Dec. 30

State police take the lead

Police announce "foul play" suspected in what is now a criminal case. State police take lead in investigation, removing a window from house, and Massachusetts detectives join effort.

- From staff reports

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors


Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

On Dec. 19, police seize two vehicles from the home, including a black Ford Explorer registered to Ayla’s 24-year-old father, Justin DiPietro.

click image to enlarge

DiPietro, second from left, is questioned by police on the day after he reported the little girl missing.

20111222_Gage
click image to enlarge

Ayla’s mother, Trista Reynolds, left, attends a candlelight vigil in Portland on Dec. 23.



Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)