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Missing toddler's father has 'no idea' what happened to her

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 2:44 PM EST, Wed December 21, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Investigators have received 165 leads in the case
  • NEW: Authorities are expanding the search to include a nearby river, a pond and hiking trails
  • Ayla was last seen wearing green pajamas with white polka dots

(CNN) -- The father of a missing toddler in Maine says he has no idea what happened to his daughter or who might be responsible for her disappearance.

"Ayla (Reynolds) was in my sole custody at the time of her disappearance," Justin DiPietro said in a statement Tuesday. "I will not make accusations or insinuations towards anyone until police have been able to prove who is responsible for this."

The 20-month-old girl was last seen Friday night by her father when he put her to bed, according to Waterville Police Chief Joseph Massey.

DiPietro later reported her missing.

In the statement, he disputes reports that he has not been in contact with the girl's mother in past weeks.

"It has always been my intention to have a shared parenting arrangement with Ayla's mother, and I will continue to work towards that when Ayla is returned to us," said DiPietro.

Massey told reporters Wednesday that investigators have received 165 leads in the case, but provided few additional details about the search that has drawn national attention.

Authorities are also expanding their search efforts, he said, to include a nearby river, a pond and several hiking trails.

"We want to rule out as many areas as we can," said Massey, noting that 80 separate searches were underway.

Those searches involve federal and local law enforcement, as well as groups of local civilians, fire fighters and maritime authorities.

Police are using about 75 officers in the case as part of a joint probe with the FBI, which is leading an expansion of the investigation.

The infant is described as having blond hair, being approximately 2 feet, 9 inches tall and weighing 30 pounds.

She was last seen wearing green pajamas with white polka dots and the words "Daddy's Princess" across the front.

Ayla's family is cooperating and police do not have anyone connected to the case in custody, Massey reiterated.

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