Dec. 19, 2011: As police investigate the disappearance of 20-month-old Ayla Reynolds of Waterville, officers seize her father’s sport utility vehicle and a Portland woman’s car from the driveway at the man’s Violette Avenue home.

Searchers use an airboat to search along Messalonskee Stream for signs of the girl, and dozens of officers search the area around the house where she lives with her father, Justin DiPietro, 24. They find nothing that helps in the investigation.

DiPietro said Ayla, wearing a soft cast on a broken arm, was put to bed on the night of the 16th. She was reported missing the next morning. Police have established that several adults were in the house at the time. They say it’s possible the child was abducted.

As of early 2020, when she would be 10 years old, she remains missing and is presumed dead.

Joseph Owen is an author, retired newspaper editor and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. Owen’s book, “This Day in Maine,” can be ordered at To get a signed copy use promo code signedbyjoe at checkout. Joe can be contacted at:

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