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New details emerge as search for missing Maine toddler enters fourth week

By Susan Candiotti and Ross Levitt, CNN
updated 11:56 AM EST, Mon January 9, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Grandmother of girl clarifies information she gave to CNN
  • She now says she was not at home the night the girl disappeared
  • Police decline to comment on the grandmother's disclosure

Waterville, Maine (CNN) -- As the search for missing Maine toddler Ayla Reynolds enters a fourth week, the grandmother of the 21-month-old girl offered new information to CNN on Sunday about the night Ayla disappeared.

Ayla's grandmother, Phoebe DiPietro, who first spoke exclusively with CNN on Friday, said she now wants to clarify a detail about her interview.

DiPietro now tells CNN she was not among the adults at the home from which Ayla disappeared that night but instead was at another location that she wouldn't publicly disclose.

DiPietro said she told police about her whereabouts that night from the very start. She added that it's her impression detectives followed up on her information early on.

Police, who suspect foul play in the case, have declined to say publicly who was at DiPietro's home the night Ayla disappeared other than to describe the occupants as several adults including one person who is not a member of the family.

Police are searching for 21-month-old Ayla Reynolds.
Police are searching for 21-month-old Ayla Reynolds.

Ayla's parents are not married and don't live together. Ayla's mother recently completed rehab, family members have said. Investigators have said both families have cooperated with police.

Justin DiPietro said he put his daughter to bed at 8 p.m. on December 16 and called police the next morning just before 9 a.m. to report her missing, according to authorities.

Baby Ayla's father speaks out
$30K reward in missing toddler case

Justin DiPietro and his mother both say they believe the child was abducted.

During her interview with CNN, DiPietro said Friday that she "didn't hear anything" when asked if she heard any noise the night Ayla disappeared. She added that there was not a party at the house, noted she wasn't the last one to go to bed and said she wasn't sure whether the doors to the house were locked.

On Sunday, DiPietro said she wanted to make clear that she wasn't home the night Ayla disappeared and that her information about what happened that night came from others.

She said she didn't specify that she wasn't home that night in her initial CNN interview because she was trying to follow the directions of police, who have instructed her not to discuss details about the night Ayla disappeared.

Both Justin DiPietro and his mother told CNN they want whomever took the little girl to return her safely.

The grandmother says her main concern is finding Ayla. As part of that, she said, she doesn't want to say anything that could hurt the investigation.

Police had no comment Sunday on DiPietro's latest disclosure.

"We're not getting into investigative details," said Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine State Police, the agency leading the investigation.

During the course of her interview with CNN, Ayla's grandmother repeatedly declined comment when asked about various aspects of what happened the night of her granddaughter's disappearance, including who was there, what the adults were doing that night, and where she was when her son told her Ayla was missing, citing her concern for the integrity of the investigation.

"Law enforcement explained to us that if we discuss details of this case, what happens is as they get tips they can't prioritize those tips that is going to bring my granddaughter home," she said.

DiPietro said she fully supports her son, who has said he "would never do anything to harm my daughter."

She says she just wants her Ayla home unharmed.

"I'd give everything I owned if we can have her back," she said Friday, her voice breaking.

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