The winter snow has melted and Maine police are once again intensifying their search for missing toddler Ayla Bell Reynolds, who disappeared from her father’s home on Dec. 17, 2011.
Nearly 100 volunteers, firefighters and officers plan to search the Waterville, Maine area today in hopes that the bare land will yield new clues that will lead them to Ayla, who will turn 2-years-old on April 4.
Organizers implored landowners in the area to watch for anything unusual on their property that could be related to the case.
Ayla’s’ father, Justin DiPietro, told police in December that he believed his daughter was snatched from the bedroom of the Waterville, Maine home she shared with him between her 8 p.m. bed time on Dec. 17 and when he checked her bedroom in the morning.
Within days what began as the search for a missing child turned into a criminal probe, after investigators discovered blood in the basement of the home.
“What [police] were unwilling to confirm to the press, but left to our discretion, is that it has already been determined to be Ayla’s blood,” the family said in a statement said. “Even in light of this evidence we are more determined than ever to find out what has happened to Ayla and we still cling to the hope that she is alive and will be returned to us. We urge anyone that has information about Ayla to come forward now and unburden yourself of the truth.”
DiPietro, 24, and Trista Reynolds, 23, Ayla’s mother, who does not live in the home and was forced by Child Protective Services to place Ayla in DiPietro’s full-time care when she checked into rehab, have taken police-administered lie-detector tests.
Reynolds told WCVB that the test administrator concluded that she could not complete the test because of a medical condition.
DiPietro has said publicly that he passed the test, though Maine State Police would not comment on his claim.
Reynolds previously alleged that her daughter was bruised the last time she saw her, though DiPietro countered that those claims amounted to “accusation and insinuations.”
The family plans to hold a vigil on April 4 to mark the toddler’s second birthday.