Ayla Reynolds should be 11 now, and her mother should be getting ready for another happy Christmas together.

Instead, the little girl who loved pink hasn’t been seen in a decade, and Trista Reynolds is girding herself for the questioning of Ayla’s father in a wrongful-death lawsuit centered around the girl’s disappearance.

Ten years later, we hope this next step gets her closer to getting the answers she deserves.

The deposition of Justin DiPietro is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 17, 10 years to the day after DiPietro called 911 to report that his 10-month-old daughter had gone missing from his mother’s house in Waterville.

He had put Ayla Reynolds to bed at 8 p.m., DiPietro said, and someone else in the house checked on her at 10. When they awoke in the morning, he said, Ayla was gone.

So launched the largest and costliest police investigation in Maine history, as law enforcement of all kinds descended on the area to search for the missing girl.

Ayla was never found, nor was any evidence that she had left the house by herself or with anyone else on what was a freezing cold and snowing December night.

Police, however, did find traces of Ayla’s blood in the house, enough to be concerned about what had happened to her. Later, police would say, repeatedly, that the people in the house knew more than they were saying about the girl’s whereabouts.

“There were three adults in the home, and their version of events is not backed up by any forensic evidence that we have located,” Steve McCausland, then spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said in January 2012.

While police continue to follow leads, no one has been charged in Ayla’s disappearance.

That leaves Reynolds to seek answers, and perhaps some justice, through a civil suit. Her lawyer has interviewed several witnesses, including the the other two people in the house the night Ayla disappeared, but DiPietro, who continues to deny any involvement in the disappearance, has avoided an interview until now.

Meanwhile, Ayla’s memory lives on. An ornament from her first and only Christmas is on the tree at the Reynolds home, as Trista celebrates with Ayla’s two siblings. They also shine a pink light in her honor every night, a tradition that their neighbors in South Portland are picking up this year in the girl’s honor.

The holidays won’t bring Reynolds the gift she really wants: the return of her oldest daughter. Instead, they bring some hope that some day there will be justice for Ayla.

 

 

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