Tips about missing Ayla pour in after reward offered

By Alex Barber, BDN Staff
Posted Dec. 27, 2011, at 1:12 p.m.

WATERVILLE, Maine — Local police have received approximately 100 new tips since a $30,000 reward for information leading to the location and safe return of missing toddler Ayla Reynolds was announced this week, Police Chief Joseph Massey said Tuesday.

“To date, we have received approximately 330 leads from people who believe they have information to offer,” said Massey, adding that several of the new tips have come from as far away as California.

In the 11 days since 20-month-old Ayla was reported missing from her home by her father, Justin DiPietro, investigators and Maine Warden Service searchers are estimated to have worked in excess of 5,000 hours on locating the girl, Massey said in a statement.

A group of residents and businesspeople in the Waterville area offered the reward on Monday. Waterville-based attorney John Nale spoke for the group.

“I ask and plead that the person or persons who have young Ayla Reynolds, that they please keep her safe and return her safely to us,” Nale said Monday, encouraging anyone with information to call the Waterville Police Department.

Massey ruled out the possibility that Ayla left the house on her own, and investigators have turned their focus to other theories.

“Based on our knowledge of the interior of the house and the sequence of events that would have needed to occur for her to make it outside on her own, we feel comfortable that we can eliminate that possibility and focus on other possibilities,” the police chief said.

Even though Ayla has been missing for a week and a half, Massey said everyone involved in the search is still focused and determined to find her.

“Today, ground searches continue as investigators go about their work to piece together the circumstances surrounding Ayla’s disappearance,” he said Tuesday. “All four agencies that initially responded to find Ayla — Waterville police, state police, the Maine Warden Service, and the FBI — are all still hard at work and their commitment is undiminished.”

Still, there were no major breaks in the case as of Tuesday.

Ayla was reported missing Dec. 17 by DiPietro, who told police he last saw her the previous night when he put her to bed in his Waterville home. He said she was wearing polka dot pajamas with the words “Daddy’s Princess” on them and had a cast on her broken left arm.

Ayla’s mother, Trista Reynolds, has been living in South Portland, about 75 miles to the south.

Ayla ended up with her father after child welfare workers intervened while her mother checked herself into a 10-day rehabilitation program, which she has completed.

The Waterville Police Department’s telephone number is 680-4700.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/12/27/news/mid-maine/search-continues-for-missing-waterville-toddler/ printed on April 25, 2014