PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --
Nearly six years after she disappeared, a judge has ruled that Ayla Renolyds is dead.
That means her mother, Trista Reynolds, can file a civil lawsuit against Justin DiPietro, Ayla's father who was the last person to see her.
NEWS CENTER spoke with former lawyer F. Lee Bailey tonight to find out what might happen next.
Bailey was an attorney for decades, with many famous clients such as OJ Simpson.
Because he lives in Maine, he follows prominent cases like Ayla Reynolds'.
Bailey thinks a civil trial could provide a chance for DiPietro to try to prove he's innocent.
“Ater six years of being under a cloud, he could do something about that if he chose to and that would be to take a polygraph test,” said Bailey. “I assume he's been invited numerous times by the police to do that.”
But DiPietro will only talk if he wants to.
He could also plead the fifth amendment, which would prevent anyone from finding out what he does or doesn't know since police haven't brought him before a grand jury.
Bailey thinks he knows why.
“That is because they don't want to give him immunity, and without doing that, hey can't make him talk. but if they do do it, they can't prosecute him,” he said.
Bailey is also confident some step forward would come out of a civil proceeding.
Even if the punishment for the person convicted isn't as harsh.
“Civil cases are useful,” he said “They can bring up a lot of evidence because you do have subpoena power, the power of an oath and if other people know something, they haven't disclosed yet that may be a way to get at it. The case certainly needs a very good investigator. It is a cold case.”
However, if DiPiertro is not the person who should be prosecuted in a wrongful death suit, the case could remain unsolved.
The actual criminal would remain free.
“The sad thing is if he is not involved, then someone else is getting a free pass because of suspicion being cast and it normally is that if there's no suspect,” said Bailey. “The family is normally in the line of fire.”
Lawyers for Trista Reynolds have been asked whether they will file a wrongful death suit.
They said they'll reveal their decision in the near future.