Missing toddler’s aunt says she took polygraph exam

The paternal aunt of missing toddler Ayla Reynolds says she has taken a polygraph test, but police won’t confirm her claim.

Elisha DiPietro, 23, is one of three adults who were in the 29 Violette Ave. home on Dec. 17, the morning Ayla was reported missing. She addressed the polygraph exam Saturday during the Eyes Open Walk for Baby Ayla, an event to raise awareness about the toddler’s disappearance.

“They did administer a polygraph,” DiPietro said. “I took it. I did fine.”

When DiPietro was asked to clarify whether she passed or failed the exam, DiPietro repeated her initial statement, adding that she’s not concerned how her response will be received by the public.

“I mean, I did fine. It’s what it is. People are going to take things how they take them, and they’re going to call us liars, if they want to call us liars, but I know the truth, and we know the truth, and we know we didn’t do anything wrong. We want Ayla home. We love Ayla.”

DiPietro said she stands by her belief that Ayla was abducted. “Someone took her,” she said. “That’s why (police) haven’t found her yet.”

In late January, Department of Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland said there is no evidence to support the family’s claim that Ayla was abducted, and that the three adults who were with Ayla the night before she was reported missing – DiPietro, Ayla’s father, Justin DiPietro, and friend Courtney Roberts – are withholding information.

Elisha DiPietro said she’s unsure how investigators came to those conclusions. “I would love to know,” she said.


Berwick woman died with $14,000 in cash, records say

Court documents indicate Brittany Tibbetts of Berwick, the female companion of a New Hampshire man who killed a police chief and wounded four other officers, had $14,000 in cash with her when she died.

Court documents indicate the cash was found during the autopsy of Tibbetts, 26, who police say was killed by Cullen Mutrie before he turned a gun on himself inside a home in Greenland, N.H.

Police were conducting a drug raid on the home on April 12 when Mutrie opened fire, killing Greenland Police Chief Michael Maloney. After a standoff, police found the bodies of Mutrie and Tibbetts in the home’s basement.

The state Attorney General’s Office wants to hand over to the Drug Enforcement Administration the $14,000 in cash along with four vehicles seized in Greenland: an SUV, two pickup trucks and a BMW.


Two police officers treated after responding to blaze

Two police officers were treated for smoke inhalation after a house fire in Norway around 11:30 p.m. Saturday.

The cause of the blaze at the two-story wooden building at 17 King St. is considered suspicious and is under investigation by the Norway Police Department and the state Fire Marshal’s Office, said Norway Police Officer Ron Cole.

Paris Police Officer Nate Bowie and Norway Police Officer James Ventresca were treated and released from Stephens Memorial Hospital in Norway for smoke inhalation suffered when they entered the burning building looking for occupants.

Earlier in the evening, Bowie also responded to the collapse of an apartment deck at 149 Moodybrook Road in Paris that injured four people.

Cole said there were no other injuries in the fire. He said he did not know who owns the property, which sustained minor damage.


Fifteen-year-old charged with break-ins at camps

Police say a teenage boy set the fire Friday that destroyed an island home on Togus Pond.

Augusta Police Sgt. Christopher Shaw said the 15-year-old has been charged with arson and burglary in the fire and with break-ins at four other camps on the lake. Police declined to discuss specifics of the ongoing investigation.

Shaw was unsure whether the teenager would be detained or released to his custodians. The boy’s name was withheld because he is a juvenile.

Police believe the teenager broke into five homes, including one on Young Road and four on Coon Island on Togus Pond.

“One of the houses was burned flat to the ground,” Shaw said. “It’s a complete loss.” No one was injured, he said.

Shaw said all four camps on the island were damaged during the break-ins. Most of that damage consisted of broken doors and windows.

He declined to specify how or why the teenager allegedly set the fire that destroyed the one camp.

Piping plovers showing up early on Maine beaches

Endangered piping plovers are making an early arrival on Maine beaches, and state officials are warning beachgoers and their pets to stay away from their nests.

Each summer, the birds nest on sand beaches where threats include the weather, beach-goers, pets and predators. They’ve been listed as federally threatened since 1986, and they’ve been on the state’s Endangered Species List since 1997.

Part of the bird’s problem is that its camouflage is too good. The birds and their sandy eggs are often overlooked by people and pets that inadvertently destroy nests.

Despite this, last year represented the most productive year in more than a decade for piping plovers, with 33 nesting pairs producing more than 70 young birds.

Community colleges will graduate 3,000 this month

Maine’s community colleges will hand out a record number of diplomas during this month’s graduation ceremonies.

More than 3,000 students are graduating from the state’s seven community colleges in May.

The first ceremony will be held Thursday at Central Maine Community College in Auburn. The largest commencement, at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland, takes place May 20.

System President John Fitzsimmons said more than 90 percent of the graduates who go into the work force in the coming months will end up staying in Maine.

– From staff and news services