Trista Reynolds reveals alleged evidence in missing daughter's case
Mom: Additional blood allegedly found on shoes, inside vehicle
Ayla disappeared in December 2011; police say they don't believe she was abducted
No one has been charged in the almost 2-year-old case
As she approaches the two-year anniversary of her daughter Ayla’s disappearance, Trista Reynolds is getting more and more frustrated that the case remains unsolved.
The Maine mother is so aggravated with investigators and the lack of apparent movement in the case, she is revealing some evidence, never before publicly shared, that Reynolds says police disclosed to her about a year after Ayla went missing from her father’s home in December 2011.
Reynolds said authorities showed her photographic evidence of 20-month-old Ayla’s blood and saliva allegedly on the shoes of her father, Justin DiPietro, and inside his vehicle, according to her stepgrandfather, Jeff Hanson.
Reynolds first disclosed the alleged additional blood evidence to CNN affiliate WCSH.
“It was very difficult for her to see it,” Hanson told CNN.
Some of the blood, Reynolds said, was mixed with saliva, indicating Ayla may have suffered internally, she told WCSH.
She says she was also shown photographs of blood discovered in the basement of the home of Ayla’s grandmother, where the toddler was temporarily living with the father.
“With what was shown to me, I don’t see how any little child can survive after that,” Reynolds told the TV station. “All I can picture when I close my eyes is the blood that I saw.”
In January 2012, investigators announced Ayla’s blood had been discovered in the basement of the home DiPietro shared with his mother, but they offered nothing more specific. They described the amount as “more than a small cut would produce,” Maine State Police spokesman Steve McCausland said.
At the time, they also said some blood was visible only by using a chemical called Luminol.
In May 2012, authorities said they suspect the toddler is dead.
“We think it’s highly unlikely that Ayla Reynolds will be found alive,” McCausland said.
To this day, police say Ayla was not abducted, but they won’t explain why, other than indicating their search of the house and other evidence leads them to that conclusion.
Officially, Ayla’s disappearance is considered a missing-person case. However, police have said “foul play” was involved.
The people home the night Ayla disappeared were DiPietro, his girlfriend, and DiPietro’s sister, according to investigators. DiPietro said it was 8 p.m. when he put his daughter to bed, and 9 a.m. when he called police to report her missing, according to both his mother and police.
Ayla’s mother and DiPietro are not married and don’t live together.
“No one has been eliminated as a suspect,” McCausland told CNN. Police have been careful not to name anyone a suspect and have warned against speculation.
Yet investigators have said they don’t think Ayla’s father and the other two women in the house that night have been totally forthcoming.
“They were the adults and they were there, and they may have answers,” McCausland said. “Justin was the father (and) we believe he knows more than he has told us.”
Trista Reynolds told WCSH she doesn’t believe there is evidence DiPietro killed their daughter, but added, “In my eyes, by him letting it go so long and not getting that help, yeah, he killed her.”
CNN was unable to reach DiPietro or his family’s lawyer but did speak with his mother, Phoebe DiPietro, Ayla’s paternal grandmother.
She declined comment on Reynolds’ revelations about alleged additional blood.
She stands by her son.
“I love my son, and I support him 100%,” Phoebe DiPietro said Wednesday. Despite the largest criminal investigation in Maine’s history – one that includes more than 1,100 leads – and repeated land and water searches near DiPietro’s Waterville home, no trace of Ayla has been found.
The investigation remains “full and active” and more searches are expected, McCausland said.
Ayla’s parents and extended family want more to be done by authorities.
“I honestly believe that if it was their daughter or their child, their family, I believe the case would be solved,” Reynolds told WCSH.
Neither police nor the Maine attorney general’s office will comment on what Ayla’s mother said about her daughter’s alleged additional blood evidence.
What they will say is there isn’t enough evidence to make an arrest
“We make our charging decisions on the basis of the evidence and never on the basis of public pressure or public demand,” Assistant Attorney General William Stokes said Wednesday.
“We understand certainly the frustration that families feel in circumstance like these, but there are professional standards we must abide by for all of us, based not on emotion or feeling, but evidence-based.”
Reynolds isn’t through making disclosures, according to Hanson. He said Ayla’s mother plans to post additional alleged evidence provided to her by investigators on September 24 on her website, aylareynolds.com.
Ayla’s paternal grandmother would like to see someone provide age-progression photos of Ayla.
She said she and Ayla’s father believe the toddler is alive and that someone knows what happened to her.
“Why is it so far-fetched that people can’t believe my granddaughter can be out there?” Phoebe DiPietro said.
“We need the public to be looking for her … for someone to step forward and let us know where she is.”