December 15, 2013

Ayla Reynolds still missing from Waterville home 2 years, 20 searches after she disappeared

The blond-haired, blue-eyed toddler who would now be 3 1/2 years old was last seen in December 2011 at her 29 Violette Ave. home.

By Amy Calder acalder@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

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Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans A candle illuminates a growing teddy bear shrine for missing 20-month-old Ayla Reynolds outside her 29 Violette Ave residence in Waterville on Christmas Day.

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Others still missing in Maine

Ayla Reynolds is one of six children who have been reported missing in Maine over the last 42 years and have not been found.

• On May 11, 1986, Kimberly Moreau, 17, was reported missing from Jay. She was last seen leaving her house with an unknown person driving a late-model white Trans-Am car. She was wearing a white blouse, blue jeans, white high-top sneakers and a men’s class ring engraved with “Mike ‘87” and “Mike Staples.” She had a surgical scar on her back. She would be 44 now.

• Cathy Marie Moulton of Portland was 16 when she was reported missing Sept. 24, 1971. She was last seen in downtown Portland, wearing a navy blue all-weather coat, navy blue pant dress and brown leather shoes. Her four eye teeth had been removed and she was wearing braces. She also was wearing thick glasses. She would be 58 today.

• Douglas Charles Chapman was reported missing on June 2, 1971, in Alfred. He was 3 years old at the time and was last seen playing in a sand box in his front yard. He is reported to have a mole on his right shoulder. He would be 45 now.

• Bernard Ross, 19, was reported missing from Ashland on May 12, 1977. He would be 55 today.

• Kurt Ronald Newton of Manchester was 4 when he disappeared Sept. 1, 1975, from a campsite at Chain of Ponds. He was camping with his family and was last seen riding a tricycle. Today, he would be 42.

-- Information from National Center for Missing & Exploited Children website (missingkids.com) and published reports.

“We cannot truly know the peace of Christmas while our Ayla is out there somewhere, alone, and her killer and accomplices are smirking in their confidence the law won’t catch up with them.”

Phoebe DiPietro did not respond to a reporter’s email this week. In September, two days before DiPietro’s court appearance, Hanson released a statement from Reynolds calling for DiPietro’s prosecution, as well as Roberts’ and Elisha DiPietro.

“We respect the decication of the police agencies and the prosecutor’s office in pursing this case,” the statement said. “However, we disagree with the delaying arrest and prosecution.”

Phoebe DiPietro, Ayla’s paternal grandmother, said the same day in a statement to the Morning Sentinel that the case should remain focused on finding the child rather than pressing for criminal charges.

Last week, Phoebe DiPietro did not respond to a reporter’s email seeking comment.

At 29 Violette Ave. on Tuesday, a black car was parked in the driveway next to a big tree bearing a no-trespassing sign. A large sign displaying Ayla’s photo was replaced with two small green plastic flower boxes whose plants were blanketed in snow. A large teddy-bear shrine that had grown in the yard in the months after Ayla disappeared was gone.

In the cold afternoon, a large yellow cat sat on the DiPietro’s step, gazing.

At the house next door, John Roy was grieving the loss of his partner, Pati Redeagle, who died from cancer in August at age 61.

The couple, interviewed by the Morning Sentinel earlier in the summer about living next door to the house from which Ayla disappeared, had said they hoped the mystery would be solved, but they weren’t optimistic.

Roy said this week that strangers still drive by or walk through the neighborhood and stare at the DiPietro house. If Roy is outside, they ask him what he thinks really happened that night.

“I still get that all the time — a couple of times a week,” he said. “I tell them all the same thing: I don’t know any more than you do. I wish I did. I think it’s a cold case at the point. I wish I could resolve it but I don’t think it’s ever going to get resolved.”

Penny Rafuse, who lives a few houses east of the DiPietro home on the opposite side of the street, said the pain neighbors feel has not waned.

“I totally agree with law enforcement,” Rafuse said. “Someone in that house knows what happened to her on that night. They can run. They can hide. They can put up ‘no-trespassing’ signs on the lawn. It is just a matter of time.”

McCausland said police are still getting calls from people offering tips in the case. Early on, they asked that psychics no longer call, and that directive still stands, he said.

If people have essential information they have not shared, police want to hear from them, he said. He asked that they call 624-7076.

“If people have called in with information, they do not need to re-call,” McCausland said. “We can assure them that that information was tracked down, even though we may not have called them back.”

Amy Calder — 861-9247 acalder@centralmaine.com Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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