The mother of missing toddler Ayla Reynolds is speaking out about her decision to declare her daughter dead.
In an exclusive sit-down interview, Trista Reynolds said she has no reason to believe Ayla is alive and doesn’t believe investigators will ever find her remains.
Ayla was reported missing nearly six years ago from her father’s Waterville home, triggering the largest search and criminal investigation in Maine state history.
Ayla’s father, Justin DiPietro, told police the toddler was abducted, but police say there is no evidence to support his claim.
Investigators say Ayla’s blood was discovered in DiPietro’s basement, and that they do not believe Ayla is alive.
If Reynolds can obtain Ayla’s death certificate, she can begin the process of a civil lawsuit against DiPietro for Ayla’s death.
“Nobody wants to stand in front of a judge and ask them to declare their child dead,” said Reynolds. “But when it’s the only way to get justice... what are you going to do?”
Reynolds said she wants to depose DiPietro, his sister, and his ex-girlfriend, the last people to see Ayla alive. Investigators say those three people have not been forthcoming and may hold the key to the case.
“I hope they do kind of contradict each other [in their testimony] and someone slips,” said Reynolds. “I hope somebody tells the truth.”
While Reynolds hopes a civil case will produce new evidence, she does not believe investigators will ever find Ayla’s body based on conversations she has had with police.
“There are some things that I know that nobody else knows, and there are things I’ve seen that nobody else has seen,” she said, not wanting to compromise the criminal case. “What I do know, is no, I don’t think they’ll ever find Ayla’s body.”
A judge heard testimony last Thursday for Ayla’s death declaration. He is expected to issue a decision sometime this week.
Justin DiPietro could not be reached for comment. He now lives in California.