WATERVILLE — A $30,000 reward has been offered for any information that leads investigators to 20-month-old Ayla Reynolds.

During a news conference Monday, Attorney John Nale announced the reward and made an appeal to anyone who knows where the missing toddler is.

“On behalf of the people of the greater Waterville area community, and through the generosity, support and kindness of a number of individuals and businesses in the area, I offer a $30,000 reward to the person or persons who will provide us with information leading to the location and return of this young girl,” he said.

Waterville Police Chief Joseph Massey said he was encouraged by the reward. He also said detectives are narrowing the focus of the investigation.

“At this point in the investigation, let me say that we are confident that Ayla did not walk out of the house by herself,” he said. “We believe that someone was involved in taking her out of the house, and that’s where the focus of this investigation has turned.”

The search now has entered its second week. Massey said police are receiving fewer leads in the case and large-scale ground searches for Ayla ended Friday. Time is a critical factor in missing-persons cases, he said, particularly cases involving young children.

“The likelihood of us finding them safe diminishes as time goes on,” he said.

Nonetheless, Massey stressed, investigators are doing everything they can.

“The intensity of the investigation is as high today as it was the first day,” he said. “We continue to employ almost every single resource we have. We’re simply committed to finding Ayla.”

Early Monday morning, investigators returned to 29 Violette Ave., the home where Ayla was last seen. A van from the Maine State Police Evidence Response Team was parked in the driveway and several police cars were parked on the street.

Evidence tape, which had sealed all doors and windows throughout the weekend, was removed from the side door.

Ayla was reported missing by her father, Justin DiPietro, on Dec. 17, according to police. She was last seen wearing green, one-piece pajamas with polka dots, with the words “Daddy’s Princess” on them. She is 2 feet, 9 inches tall and weighs about 30 pounds. Her left arm is in a soft cast.

Massey urged anyone with information on the location of Ayla Reynolds to contact Waterville Police at 680-4700.

Ben McCanna — 861-9239

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