Police: No developments in Maine toddler case
WATERVILLE, Maine (AP) — While there are no new developments in the case of toddler Ayla Reynolds nearly a year after she was reported missing from her Maine home, police said Friday that they're resolved to keep investigating a case that's caught national attention until it's solved.
"The anniversary does not affect the scope of the investigation," spokesman Steve McCausland of the Maine State Police said during a news conference with Waterville police and state Warden Service officials. "We are in this for the long haul."
Ayla was 20 months old when her father, Justin DiPietro, of Waterville, reported last Dec. 17 that she was missing. That prompted searches by police, game wardens and FBI agents who canvassed neighborhoods, lowered streams and sent divers into the nearby Kennebec River.
The search area already covered, about 7 miles by 5 miles, will be gradually widened, said Warden Lt. Kevin Adam. "There may be more large searches."
State police Sgt. Jeffrey Love said investigators have received 1,300 leads from 40 states as far away as California and Alaska. Some were deemed not relevant after hours, and others were followed for days and weeks before they could be "closed out." Some are still under review.
"We have and will continue to follow up on these leads," said Love, who called it the largest missing child case ever in Maine. "These investigations take time."
The one thing investigators don't need or want is information from people claiming to be psychics, whose information had proven useless so far.
"We don't want any more psychics calling us," said McCausland. Instead, police want information passed directly or through one or two people from principals in the case. They also want what people suspect may be hard evidence.
McCausland said police during the past month have conducted new interviews with DiPietro, his sister Elisha DiPietro and his mother Phoebe DiPietro. He declined to discuss details but said, "I viewed that meeting as positive." Police also talked to Ayla's mother, Trista Reynolds, on Thursday.
Waterville police Chief Joseph Massey, asked if investigators are frustrated by the duration of the case, said police must keep focused on the investigation.
"This is a case that has pulled at the heartstrings of all of us and that's why we remain committed. We can't let ourselves become frustrated," said Massey.