December 5, 2020

Officials step up efforts to find missing toddler

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WATERVILLE, Maine (AP) — As the FBI stepped up its efforts to find a 20-month-old girl who disappeared from her father’s home over the weekend, investigators combed through trash bins, drained a stream and pored over more than 100 leads offered by the public.

Waterville Police Chief Joseph Massey refused to speculate Tuesday on whether Ayla Reynolds was alive, saying authorities are focused on finding her. The investigation remains a missing-person case, he said.

Meanwhile, in his first public statement, the girl’s father, Justin DiPietro, said he doesn’t know what happened to her.
“I have no idea what happened to Ayla, or who is responsible,” he said. “I will not make accusations or insinuations towards anyone until the police have been able to prove who’s responsible for this.”

The Portland Press Herald reported that DiPietro released the statement through the Waterville Police Department, saying his family and friends will do “everything we can to assist in this investigation and get Ayla back home.”

Massey said the FBI launched a door-to-door canvass of neighbors to glean any information that may lead them to the little girl.

“We’ve ruled out nothing,” said Massey, whose central Maine agency has combined efforts with firefighters, state police, game wardens and the FBI.

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