September 17, 2019
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National media focuses on missing Maine toddler Ayla

WATERVILLE, Maine — Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland said Sunday that there were no new developments in the investigation into the disappearance of 20-month-old Ayla Reynolds, which continued through the holiday weekend.

Meanwhile, members of the First Baptist Church in Waterville devoted part of their Christmas service to praying for the girl, according to the Associated Press.

The case continues to garner attention from state, regional and national media. Numerous national outlets have highlighted the case, including the Today Show more than once and the Lifetime Channel program America’s Most Wanted on Friday night.
Experts on missing persons investigations also have weighed in with a litany of theories that ranged from Ayla wandering away from her home during the night to being abducted to being the victim of foul play. Investigators have said they are pursuing several angles at once.

The whereabouts of Reynolds have been unknown for a week since her father, Justin DiPietro, reported her missing last Saturday, Dec. 17. DiPietro has told police he last saw his daughter on the previous night when he put her to bed and that when he checked on her the next morning, she was gone.

The toddler is described as 2 feet, 9 inches tall, weighing 30 pounds and with blond hair. She last was seen wearing green polka-dotted one-piece pajamas with the words “Daddy’s Princess” on the front. She had a cast on her left arm.

State and federal law enforcement agencies have spent all week searching for her, including several places in the Waterville area late this week. They searched vehicles at the DiPietro home and put crime scene tape around it, which Waterville Police Chief Joseph Massey said is standard procedure. As of late Saturday morning, according to McCausland, the situation still was considered a missing person case.

“I’m not aware of any new developments today on this Christmas weekend,” said McCausland.

Correction: A previous version of this story said Ayla was 20 years old. She is 20 months old.

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