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No evidence to support Maine toddler was abducted from father's home, police say

MissingToddlerDeMa.jpg

This undated photo shows missing toddler Ayla Reynolds. (AP)

Police who confirmed the discovery of blood from a missing toddler in the basement of her father's home said Monday they've found no evidence to support an abduction, and they believe adults in the home know more than what they're telling investigators.

Six weeks after Ayla Reynold's disappearance in Waterville, state and local detectives believe the father, Justin DiPietro, and two other adults in the home on the night Ayla was last seen are not giving a full account of what happened, said Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

The idea that someone sneaked into the small house and took Ayla without awakening any of the adults "doesn't pass the straight-face test," McCausland said.

"We've followed every conceivable piece of evidence that would follow their version of events, and we have found not one piece of evidence that supports an abduction," he said Monday.

Ayla was 20 months old when she disappeared on the night of Dec. 16. She had been staying with her father at the time in the house where DiPietro lives with his mother. Ayla's mother, Trista Reynolds, lives in Portland.

DiPietro reported Ayla missing the following day. He'd put her to bed the night before and said she wasn't there the next morning.

Over the weekend, state police confirmed that blood was found in the basement where the father slept and that some of the blood was Ayla's. Relatives reported on a family-run website that they were told the blood was "more than a small cut would produce" but police declined Monday to say how much blood was discovered.

McCausland told the Bangor Daily News on Sunday that more testing is pending on the blood samples and other materials taken from the father's home but that investigators are certain the blood found is the missing girl's, according to the newspaper. 

On the night Ayla was last seen, DiPietro was in the home with his girlfriend, Courtney Roberts, and they slept with Roberts' child in the partially finished basement where the blood was found, McCausland said. DiPietro's sister was sleeping with her young child on the main level of the one-story home, and Ayla was in a bedroom by herself on the main level, McCausland said Monday. DiPietro's mother was not home that night.

Trista Reynolds' father said the family was told late Saturday by McCausland that blood found in the home was determined to be Ayla's.

"It was a surprise," Ronald Reynolds said.

He said police didn't give any indication what the discovery means.

Ronald Reynolds said he is convinced the adults in DiPietro's house have more information than they have shared.

"Every day, it gets hotter and hotter," he said. "I hope they pull them back in, set them down and give them the opportunity to say something."

The family-run website issued an appeal for anyone with information about Ayla to come forward.

"Even in light of this evidence we are more determined than ever to find out what has happened to Ayla and we still cling to the hope that she is alive and will be returned to us," the website said. "We urge anyone that has information about Ayla to come forward now and unburden yourself of the truth."

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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