FILE – This undated file photo provided by Trista Reynolds shows Ayla Reynolds, her daughter, who went missing in December 2011 from her father’s home in Waterville, Maine. Ayla has never been found and the investigation remains open, all probate court formally declared her legally dead in 2017. Lawyers for Trista Reynolds planned to speak on Monday, Dec. 17, 2018, in Portland, plans to file a lawsuit against the missing girl’s father Justin DiPietro. (AP Photo/Trista Reynolds, File)
PORTLAND, Maine – The mother of a toddler whose disappearance prompted the largest criminal investigation in Maine history indicted Monday in the hope of unearthing more information.
The announcement came on the seventh anniversary of the date 20-month-old Ayla Reynolds was reported missing by her father in Waterville.
Ayla’s mother, Trista Reynolds, has the debt of the father, Justin DiPietro, for the toddler’s death. But the body is never found, and no charges are filed.
Reynolds and her attorney, William Childs, filed the wrongful death lawsuit alleging DiPietro caused Ayla’s death, and said at a press conference that they hope to deposition related to the suit will help solve the case.
“Justin, I promise you, wherever you are, one day you will face me and tell me the truth of what really happened to Ayla,” Reynolds told reporters in Portland. “You can’t hide from this forever.”
DiPietro is not called back. An e-mail to an address listed under his name was returned by a user who declined to comment. Childs said DiPietro’s last known address was in California.
The lawsuit seeks a monetary award of DiPietro. But Childs and Reynolds, who held a press conference about the lawsuit during the morning snowfall outside court, said they were aware that DiPietro has probably no money to offer.
Childs said the lawsuit is more about “trying to find out how Ayla was killed, why Ayla was killed, and where Ayla was killed.” Researchers have said in the past that the adults in the Waterville home where Ayla was last alive seen to know more than they have shared with the authorities.
A sworn statement from DiPietro and others in the home, which can be served subpoenas, can help to shed light on exactly what happened that night. Reynolds said that she hopes that it builds a basis for a possible criminal prosecution.
The police have long believed the girl is dead, and a judge declared her legally dead in 2017. But the investigation remains open.
Maine State Police spokesman Steve McCausland said Monday that the investigation is “active” and that ” the police “remain as committed today as we were seven years ago” to solve the problem.
Ayla was last seen wearing pajamas with the words “Daddy’s Princess” on them. DiPietro told the police that he believed that Reynolds was abducted from a home where she will be staying in the central Maine city of Waterville. The police ruled that theory out.
Ayla was reported missing Dec. 17, 2011. DiPietro said at the time that he had tucked Ayla in bed the night before and found that she was gone the next morning. Searches didn’t turn up any evidence.
Trista Reynolds now lives in South Portland and has two young children. She said that the light of a pink candle every year in December in Ayla’s name.
“We have been using this for seven years,” she said before the press conference, “so I have hope somewhere.”