It has been more than two years since Ayla Reynolds disappeared. For the people who have followed this story since the beginning, it seems like an eternity. For Ayla’s family and loved ones, it must be unbearable.
Ayla’s mom, Trista Reynolds, says investigators told her that blood was found in multiple locations at the Waterville home where the then-20-month-old toddler was staying the night before she was reported missing. Based on the evidence she has seen, Reynolds does not believe her daughter is alive, or that she will be found.
A spokesman has said that police don’t believe Ayla was taken from the house by a stranger, as has been claimed by the adults with her at that time — including her father, Justin DiPietro. Authorities believe those adults haven’t been truthful with them, and that they know more about the disappearance than they are letting on.
In that light, the family’s anger and frustration is understandable. Their little girl is missing — for 25 months now — and they presume the worst. They believe they know who is to blame, and they think there is enough evidence to prove it, or at least to bring some charges, perhaps child endangerment.
The family is not alone. A protest Saturday outside the Waterville police station drew 35 people calling for charges to be filed against the people who were with Ayla when she disappeared. The gathering was organized by an out-of-state group calling itself the Justice Seekers, led by Heather Garczynski, who drove from Erie, Pa. to be in Maine last weekend.
“It baffles me that there’s so much probable cause in the case and nothing’s been done, and people are allowed to walk the streets without a care in the world, and there’s a little girl missing,” Garczynski said Saturday.
In an unprecedented case like this, in a small state like ours, everyone is going to have an opinion. Many observers think they know who was involved in the disappearance.
It is the attorney general’s office, however, that will have to prove it, based solely on the submissible evidence gathered in the investigation.
Prosecutors do not feel they have enough evidence at this point, that much is clear. And there is nothing to indicate that they are taking the case lightly — the investigation, which police have called the largest in state history, has included at least 20 searches and countless man-hours.
Prosecutors and police have stated all along that their focus is on building the case, which is where it should be, instead of placating public opinion. They can’t be forced into action, no matter how understandable or heartbreaking is the anguish surrounding the case.
They have to be sure that when they bring a case, it is solid. That is the only way there will be justice for Ayla.