Search for 20-month-old Ayla hampered by snowfall

Posted Dec. 23, 2011, at 12:15 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 27, 2012, at 2 p.m.

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This undated photo obtained from a facebook page shows missing toddler Ayla Reynolds. Police in Maine are appealing to the public for help in locating the 20-month-old girl who was last seen Friday night.
AP photo from Facebook
This undated photo obtained from a facebook page shows missing toddler Ayla Reynolds. Police in Maine are appealing to the public for help in locating the 20-month-old girl who was last seen Friday night.

WATERVILLE, Maine — Large-scale efforts to find a missing 20-month-old girl were hampered Friday by a couple of inches of snow that fell overnight as the search for the central Maine toddler entered its seventh day.

Waterville police detectives along with Maine State Police and the FBI continued to investigate the disappearance of Ayla Reynolds, Waterville Police Chief Joseph Massey said. Ayla’s father, Justin DiPietro, reported her missing from his Waterville home last Saturday.

Friends and family held a vigil in Congress Square in Portland, where Ayla’s mother said all she wants for Christmas is to get Ayla back.

“I will get her home. Ayla, I love you,” Ayla’s mother told WCSH6. “I’m not going nowhere.”

Investigators put up crime-scene tape around DiPietro’s house on Thursday and two state homicide prosecutors were called to the site, but police said they still are treating the disappearance as a missing child case. Massey said the investigation was focusing on DiPietro’s house because that’s where the girl was last seen.

Teams of wardens were available to conduct targeted searches Friday as necessary and investigators are continuing a “painstaking review of an unprecedented amount of information which has been gathered to date,” Massey said in a news release.

Hundreds of officials and volunteers have helped search for Ayla since DiPietro told police she wasn’t in her bed when he checked on her at 8 a.m. Saturday. DiPietro told police he last saw her when he put her to bed the previous night. She was wearing green pajamas with polka dots and the words “Daddy’s Princess” on them. She also had a soft cast on her broken left arm.

Ayla ended up living with her father after child welfare workers intervened while her mother, Trista Reynolds, checked herself into a 10-day rehabilitation program.

Trista Reynolds, who lives in Portland, told NBC’s “Today” show that she planned to attend a candlelight vigil for Ayla in Portland on Friday. “I just want her home,” she told “Today.” ”And I’m hoping for maybe my Christmas present … that she’s going to come home.”

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