Skip to main content

Missing toddler's mom calls for arrests, citing new details of purported evidence

By Susan Candiotti and Ross Levitt, CNN
updated 9:14 AM EDT, Wed September 25, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Toddler Ayla Reynolds was reported missing December 17, 2011
  • The mother of the 20-month old tells CNN of details about purported evidence
  • Reynolds says she was shown photographs of what appeared to be her daughter's blood
  • The photos were taken in the house Ayla shared with her father and other relatives

(CNN) -- The mother of missing Maine toddler Ayla Reynolds on Tuesday disclosed new details about purported blood evidence discovered in the home where the 20-month-old was reported missing December 17, 2011.

Trista Reynolds told CNN that police shared the information with her in confidence last January, but in revealing details of that information now, she says she felt it was time "to let the world know" about it.

"What I thought right off my head was it was a murder scene," Reynolds told CNN in a network exclusive interview, referring to police photographs.

"There was just like Ayla's blood ... everywhere," she added.

Reynolds told CNN she was shown photographs of what appeared to be her daughter's blood discovered on the child's slippers and on a doll in her bedroom, and a silver-dollar-sized stain on a living room sofa.

Mother reveals secret evidence

2012: Who was inside Ayla's house?
2012: Blood found in home of Ayla's dad
2012: Ayla mystery deepens

In the basement, where Ayla's father, Justin DiPietro, slept, Reynolds says police allegedly found more of Ayla's blood and on the walls, the floor, in a "fist-sized stain" on the mattress and sheets, on the tongue of DiPietro's sneakers and on a wood pallet leaning against a wall.

An additional spot of what appeared to be Ayla's blood was found on a child's car seat in DiPietro's vehicle.

Reynolds said police showed her some photographs of purported blood stains visible in the photos only because of chemical called luminal.

She said those images in particular were so disturbing, she could bear to see only a few.

"I had to actually... I shut it off. I asked them to stop. And there were three or four more pictures that they wanted to show me, and I just...I...I couldn't," she told CNN, her voice trailing off.

Publicly, Maine State Police investigators said in January 2012, that they had identified Ayla's blood in the basement, describing it as "more...than a small cut would produce."

According to Ayla's mother, she is making the disclosures in frustration that her daughter hasn't been found, and she wants three adults who were in the home when Ayla vanished -- the child's father, his girlfriend, and his sister -- arrested.

Reynolds posted details of the information police shared with her on her website devoted to her missing daughter.

"All three of those people were in that house that night ... all three of them know what happened to Ayla, and all three of them should be prosecuted for it," Reynolds told CNN.

DiPietro and his family maintain Ayla was abducted.

Is Ayla dead?

Police say there is no evidence of an abduction from the house, which belongs to DiPietro's mother. They've also said they don't think Ayla will be found alive.

Over time, authorities have repeatedly said they believe there was foul play and that the adults who were home that night haven't told everything they know. "I've said it in the past, their versions don't pass the 'straight-face test.' That statement stands," Maine State Police spokesman Steve McCausland recently told CNN.

DiPietro's mother and Ayla's grandmother, Phoebe DiPietro, stands by her son.

"Everyone's standards for what is or isn't believable is different," DiPietro said.

She wouldn't comment on the alleged blood evidence.

"Trista can say and do what she wants," Phoebe DiPietro wrote in a statement provided to CNN.

"We choose to hold on to hope that Ayla will be found, " she added.

McCausland said because of the ongoing investigation, which he describes as the biggest in state history, he won't comment one way or another on Trista Reynolds's disclosures including whether they're accurate or could adversely impact the investigation.

"We understand her frustration. Trista has a right to be frustrated. She is Ayla's mom. At times during the past 21 months we're frustrated too," McCausland explained, "but we remember who we are working for. And we're working for Ayla. And that reinvigorates the investigative team."

Organized by supporters of Ayla's mother, an online petition drive has been mounted urging Maine Attorney General Janet Mills to arrest Ayla's father, his sister, and girlfriend in connection with the toddler's disappearance.

But Deputy Attorney General William Stokes said that is not how investigations are conducted.

"To allow this type of pressure to influence either the investigation or prosecution undermines the integrity of the investigation or any prosecutor's decision in the future, " Stokes tells CNN. "It simply cannot happen."

Items that might be linked to case recovered

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT