Details of Disappearance
Ayla was last seen when her father, Justin DiPietro, put her to bed at her home on Violette Avenue in Waterville, Maine at 8:00 p.m. on December 16, 2011. She apparently vanished during the night and has never been seen again. Her father called the police at 8:50 the next morning.
Justin, his sister, his girlfriend and the women's two children were at the residence all night the night Ayla disappeared. Authorities maintain the baby's father has not been cooperative with the investigation and they believe the adults who were in the home that night are withholding information.
Investigators found Ayla's blood in the multiple places in Justin's home, including her first-floor bedroom and his basement bedroom, which is where he slept that night with his girlfriend and her child. His sister and his sister's child slept on the first floor. There was about a cup of blood in total, and evidence that someone had tried to clean up the stains.
Ayla's mother, Trista Reynolds, was in a ten-day substance abuse treatment program when her daughter disappeared. The day before Ayla went missing, Trista had filed for sole custody. Ayla had been placed with her father by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) two months prior to her disappearance. Justin did not know about Trista's custody bid. Photos of Trista and Justin are posted with this case summary.
In April 2012, police found some unspecified items of interest behind the Hathaway Creative Center in the Kennebec River, about a mile from DiPietro's home. May 2012, nearly six months after Ayla vanished, authorities publicly stated they believed she was dead, but did not believe she had been abducted.
Ayla was declared legally dead in 2017; the court recorded that she had died around the time she was reported missing. In December 2018, seven years after her disappearance, Trista filed a wrongful death suit against Justin. Although the suit seeks unspecified monetary damages, she stated the real goal of it was to get answers as to what happened to Ayla and to recover her body.
Justin maintained his innocence in his daughter's case and stated he has no idea where she is. In his response to Trista's filing, Justin said he was innocent of any wrongdoing in Ayla's disappearance and the blood in his house was from one time when she was sick.
In 2022, the wrongful death suit was expanded in scope: Justin's mother, Phoebe DiPietro, and sister, Elisha DiPietro, were both added as defendants. Based on unspecified new evidence, Trista alleges the women played a role in Ayla's death and in the subsequent coverup.
No one has been named as a suspect in Ayla's disappearance. Her case remains unsolved.