WATERVILLE, Maine — Eight years ago, on December 17, 2011, 20-month-old Ayla Reynolds of Waterville was reported missing. She was the daughter of Trista Reynolds and Justin DiPietro.
Her case became the largest criminal investigation ever conducted by the Maine State Police.
Ayla went missing while in the custody of her father.
DiPietro claimed that she must have been taken while she was sleeping.
According to state police, DiPietro said he put his daughter to bed around 8 p.m., and when he went to check on her the next morning, she was gone.
Searches along Messalonskee Stream, given the possibility she fell or was put into the stream, yielded no result. Extensive investigation throughout Maine and New Hampshire followed, also with no result.
Ayla's mother, Trista Reynolds, said then, and still maintains, that she believes DiPietro is responsible for their daughter's disappearance.
The sadness and desperation to find her by the Waterville community, the people of Maine, and the nation sparked a massive search effort for the little girl.
Several Waterville businesses worked together to amass a $30,000 reward for information on her whereabouts.
On May 30, 2017, Ayla was declared dead in absentia by the State of Maine.
Trista filed a civil lawsuit in Cumberland County Superior Court in Portland regarding Ayla's death in December 2018.
In the years since her disappearance, DiPietro moved away from Maine and stopped talking to the media about the case. His last known location was Los Angeles, California.
No one has been charged in this case.