Sunday, December 8, 2013
A timeline of events in the disappearance of Waterville toddler Ayla Reynolds:
Contributed photo via Associated Press
Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011
Trista Reynolds files for full custody of her daughter, Ayla Reynolds, in Cumberland County District Court. Ayla had been in the care of her father, Justin DiPietro, since October, when Reynolds went into a drug rehabilitation program.
Friday, Dec. 16, 2011, 10 p.m.
DiPietro tells police this is the last time he saw his daughter, lying in her bed in their home at 29 Violette Ave. in Waterville. She 20 months old, wearing one-piece pajamas with the words "Daddy's Princess." Her left arm, broken in an accidental fall three weeks earlier, is in a soft splint and a sling.
Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011, 8:51 a.m.
DiPietro calls 911 to report Ayla is missing after finding her bed empty. Waterville police, firefighters, state game wardens search the area. Waterville and Maine State Police detectives look for forensic evidence in DiPietro's house.
Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011
FBI agents, two police dogs, neighbors and volunteers join the house-to-house and neighborhood search. Game wardens scour the banks of nearby Messalonskee Stream.
Monday, Dec. 19, 2011
Police seize two vehicles, one of them registered to DiPietro and the other registered to his girlfriend, Courtney Roberts, of Portland. Police say the parents are cooperating with the investigation. Trista Reynolds appears on ABC's "Good Morning America" and HLN's "Nancy Grace" shows. The search swells to 70 law enforcement agents, including game wardens looking at Messalonskee Stream with an airboat and circling the area in an airplane.
Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011
DiPietro releases a statement through Waterville police saying he doesn't know what happened to Ayla. Investigators drain a section of Messalonskee Stream to look for clues, and they examine garbage bins, garages, backyards, ball fields and wooded areas near the home. FBI Child Abduction Rapid Deployment Team canvasses Waterville neighborhoods. Police say it's still a missing-child case.
Thursday, Dec. 22, 2011
Six days into the search, investigators put crime scene tape around DiPietro's house and intensify the search for clues. Two of the state's top homicide prosecutors visit the house.
Friday, Dec. 23, 2011
Overnight snow ends the large-scale ground search. Trista Reynolds tells NBC's "Today" show that she blames DiPietro for not keeping Ayla safe.
Monday, Dec. 26, 2011
Ten days into the investigation, police say they believe someone took Ayla from her home, saying for the first time that they don't believe she left the house on her own. Community members offer a $30,000 reward for evidence leading investigators to Ayla. A state police evidence response team van is parked in the driveway.
Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2011
DiPietro issues a second statement through Waterville police, repeating that he doesn't know what happened to Ayla. The warden service ends the last of the large-scale ground searches in Waterville.
Friday, Dec. 30, 2011
Police announce foul play is suspected in what is now a criminal case. Maine State Police Major Crimes Unit takes the lead in the investigation, and Massachusetts detectives join the effort, providing investigative tools at the house.
Saturday, Dec. 31, 2011
State police release the house at 29 Violette Ave. back to the occupants.
Wednesday, Jan. 4
DiPietro grants a second interview to the Morning Sentinel and says Ayla broke her arm when he fell on her n November.
Friday, Jan. 13
DiPietro grants third interview to the Morning Sentinel and says he took a polygraph test, but that police didn't show him results. McCausland says DiPietro "knows how he did, because we told him."
DiPietro also says those present in the home the night of Dec. 16 included himself, Ayla, his sister Elisha DiPietro and her daughter, and his girlfriend Courtney Roberts and her son.
Thursday, Jan. 19
Trista Reynolds announces she has taken a polygraph test but wasn't able to complete it because of a medical condition.
Saturday, Jan. 28
McCausland announces that police doubt Ayla was abducted from her home, adding that explanation doesn't pass the "straight-face test."
Earlier that day, police announce that blood was found at 29 Violette Ave. during the December search, but they don't know whose blood it is. Shortly after the announcement, DiPietro and Trista Reynolds appear together at a third vigil in Waterville. It is the first time they have seen each other since Ayla disappeared.
Sunday, Jan 29
McCausland confirms that the blood found in the Violette Avenue home is Ayla's.
Friday, Feb. 3
Dive teams from the state police and the warden service again search the Kennebec River and Messalonskee Stream.
Tuesday, Feb. 28
DiPietro and his supporters, the Tudela family, grant an interview with the Morning Sentinel. They contend that a kidnapping is plausible, despite contrary claims by state police. DiPietro said there are good reasons to believe Ayla was kidnapped, but wouldn't say what those reasons were.
Sunday, March 18
Ayla's stepgrandfather, Jeff Hanson, launches answersforayla.com, a blog that purports to have inside information from state police investigators. The blog contends investigators found more than a cup of blood in the basement at 29 Violette Ave., but police wouldn't confirm the claim.
Thursday, March 29
The Associated Press publishes an interview with Trista Reynolds, who says Ayla needed constant attention; she wonders whether DiPietro may have been frustrated by her.
Wednesday, April 25
Police recover items from the Kennebec River, which are sent to the state crime lab for testing. McCausland says investigators don't know if the items are related to Ayla.
Tuesday, May 8
Police drain a diversion channel of a Waterville dam to search for evidence. McCausland said some items were removed from the scene by detectives and sent to the crime lab for processing.
Friday, May 18
Trista Reynolds says police told her the items retrieved from the Kennebec River on May 8 are unrelated to the case.
Thursday, May 31
Maine State Police and Waterville Police hold a press conference to say Ayla is likely dead. McCausland says investigators' conclusion was based on a culmination of factors, but wouldn't say what. In addition, attorney John Nale announces that the $30,000 reward for information that would lead investigators to Ayla will expire June 30.
Tuesday, July 17
Searchers find "nothing substantial" during another search of the Kennebec River and its banks from Lockwood Dam at the Hathaway Creative Center and upstream to the Hydro Kennebec Dam. The search coincides with the seven-month mark of the investigation.
Friday, Oct. 5
State police detectives search Messalonskee Stream, which was drained by Kennebec Water District for routine maintenance. Detectives cover a half-mile of riverbanks upsteam and downstream of the North Street bridge. Nothing is found.
Thursday, July 25
DiPietro pleads not guilty to domestic violence assault after he was charged July 6 with grabbing and pushing former girlfriend Roberts while they were arguing in Portland. He is scheduled to appear on court on the charges Sept. 25.
DiPietro tells a Morning Sentinel reporter his is living in his mother's basement on Violette Avenue and "trying to live a normal life.