2012-01-18 / Maine

Vigil held in support of missing toddler

BY CLARKE CANFIELD The Associated Press

PORTLAND

Community members and relatives of a toddler reported missing from her father’s Waterville home a month ago are trying to keep her disappearance from fading from public view.

About 35 people, including the girl’s father and his family, attended a candlelight vigil on Tuesday night aimed to keep Ayla Reynolds’ name in the forefront of the news as the criminal investigation into her disappearance continues, family friend and vigil organizer Bob Vear said.

People also are talking about having a public dinner or musical concert to raise funds and awareness and about possibly producing fliers, bracelets and T- shirts, he said. Everywhere he goes, he said, there’s an outpouring of support.

“There’s no words to describe the torment this whole community is feeling right now,” Vear said.

Ayla’s father, Justin DiPietro, told police Dec. 17 that his daughter was missing from her bed when he checked on her that morning at his house in Waterville. At the time, Ayla, then 20 months old, was wearing green pajamas with polka dots and the words “Daddy’s Princess” on them and had a soft cast on her broken left arm.

State police are leading the investigation, working with members of the Waterville Police Department and the Maine Warden Service, state police spokesman Steve McCausland said. The FBI is available in a support role.

Police have not ruled out anything or anyone in their investigation, but there haven’t been any new developments in the past week.

DiPietro last week said he’d taken a polygraph test shortly after Ayla’s disappearance, but he and police have declined to divulge the results. He said Tuesday that he didn’t have any more information to share.

“I just want you guys to keep her face out there and keep the awareness out there,” he said.

DiPietro and his family — two brothers, a sister and his mother — attended Tuesday’s vigil, Vear said.

Ayla’s mother, Trista Reynolds, who doesn’t live with DiPietro, said this week she’s trying to arrange for polygraph tests for her and members of her family. Ayla ended up with her father in October after child welfare workers intervened while her mother, who lives in Portland, checked herself into a 10-day rehabilitation program.

Reynolds, who completed the rehab program, could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Her father, Ronald Reynolds, said police have asked family members to take polygraph tests. He said he doesn’t see the point — “ we don’t know what the hell happened up there” — but would be glad to take a test if it helps the investigation.

It’s been a month since his granddaughter vanished, but the same questions keep popping up in his head.

“Where’s she at? Is she OK? Do we know anything? Is she being treated fairly? Is she being fed? Are her clothes changed?” Reynolds said. “There are so many things going through my head day after day. Day after day, we think about her all the time.”

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