This is Ayla Reynolds, this sweet baby was 20 months old when she was reported missing. To this day we still do not know where she is, but after reading this case you may have a pretty good idea on what happened to her.
Ayla was reported missing on the morning of December 17, 2011. Ayla was born on April 4th, 2010 to Trista Reynolds and Justin DiPietro. From the moment Trista found out she was pregnant, Justin wanted nothing to do with the baby and even made Ayla get a paternity test when she was born. After finding out Ayla was indeed his child, he still wanted nothing to do with her. Justin’s mom pushed him to step up and be a father. Although Ayla spent most of her time with her mother Trista, she did get to see her father whenever he wanted so there was so legal custody agreement between the parents.
When Justin did come into Ayla life the relationship was questionable, any time she spent a few days with her father she would come home with her entire body covered in bruises. Whenever Trista confronted Justin he would just make up some story on how she got them, although Trista knew he was lying.
Trista was struggling with alcoholism and ended up checking herself into rehab to better herself. Trista left Ayla with her sister Jessica and her mother would help watch her as well. After Trista checked herself in to rehab (the exact date is unconfirmed) Jessica got a knock on the door. It was DHS and 2 police officers there to take Ayla and place her in the care of her father, Justin. He randomly decided he wanted to step up and plead his case to DHS stating he wanted full custody of Ayla. This was VERY strange and the family was terrified along with Trista.
Since they had no legal agreement and Trista was in rehab he was able to legally take her, that is exactly what he did. According to the family, they were sitting with police in the room and Ayla was laughing and playing and the second Justin walked into the room she started crying uncontrollably and even tried to flee the room. It was very obvious she was scared, but unfortunately nothing could be done and Justin got to take her home with him.
When Trista found out she was horrified and immediately checked herself out of rehab but when she got out she was hit with her worst nightmare; there was nothing she could do to get her baby back. On November 11 2011, Ayla broke her arm in the care of Justin and according to Justin he stated he was carrying her up the stairs while it was raining outside and slipped and fell right on top of Ayla. He didn’t think anything was wrong with her as she was upset but didn’t seem as if anything was broken until the next day when her arm was badly swollen and he finally took her to the hospital. When Trista heard this story she didn’t believe it for a minute and KNEW he hurt her in some way and this story was made up to cover his ass.
Through the course of November and December Trista was only allowed to see Ayla 2 or 3 times and was barely allowed to speak with her; now that Justin had full custody and control of Ayla. November 21st 2011 was the last time she got to see Ayla, and December 8th is the last time she got to hear Ayla’s voice.
Trista knew she had to fight, so she went to DHS and pled for her to have custody back of her daughter, that is when she found out Justin’s family member was the one to grant him custody and they didn’t follow any guidelines they were suppose to such as home searches, background checks, etc. This is when she filed for custody and was sure not to tell Justin but he somehow found out. The next day on December 16th, 2011 Trista confronted Justin about not taking Ayla to any of her follow up appointments for her arm and he texted Trista saying she will never see Ayla again. On this night Ayla disappeared after spending only 59 days with her father.
On the morning of December 17th Justin made 2 phone calls to 911, the first call he never mentioned his name or Ayla’s name to dispatch just that his daughter was missing. When they asked when the last time he saw her he stated, “When I put her to bed last night. My sister checked on her. Um, woke up this morning and went to her room and she’s not there.” They then asked if they searched the house or if she got out of her crib and Justin said “No way Ma’am, no way there’s no way she could.” Dispatch then asked for exact times and the call ended. He did call back right away saying his phone died and that he put her to bed at 8pm and he was not the last person to see her it was actually his sister Elisha, who checked on her around 10pm that night.
Authorities arrived to the home within 10 minutes and checked the entire home to make sure she wasn’t hiding and to check for forced entry around the windows and doors but came up with nothing. Meanwhile, 75 miles away police knocks on Trista’s parents door looking for her, but she is actually driving 4 hours to visit someone in prison. Now it is unclear who this person was but since there were custody issues both parents automatically became suspects. Police were able to prove Trista’s whereabouts so the focus went back to Justin.
The next day law enforcement began searching for Ayla throughout the community but there was zero evidence found of her. They stated they did not believe she walked out of the home alone given her age and the fact she had a broken arm. All three individuals who lived in the home: Justin, Elisha, and Justin’s girlfriend Courtney were questions and this lead to their home and Justin’s car being searched and sent in for testing. A week after Ayla disappeared Justins home was surrounded with crime scene tape and authorities took literally hundreds of pieces of evidence in for testing.
Police later stated they believed the three individuals inside that home were lying and they all knew exactly what happened that evening. They also stated they did in fact find blood within the home and that Justin even took a life insurance policy out on Ayla just a MONTH before she went missing!
Trista’s family ran a website for the public to follow her case and any new updates, and they decided to release all of the blood evidence they found in Justin’s home. In early January after Justin’s home was searched authorities created a powerpoint to show Trista and her family what they found in that home. The blood that was just visible to the naked eye was in Justins car, on Ayla’s carseat, the back seat, the couch inside the home, on her babydoll, and the most of it was in the basement where Justin and his girlfriend Courtney lived. There was blood everywhere, including a fist sized stain on the bed, and all over his shoes, and walls. remember this is what is visible but when they used luminol the entire room LIT UP which means blood was everywhere. Trista’s family stated it seemed she was coughing/throwing it up but police were unsure how she was killed but they were convinced she was no longer alive. Since the family released this publicly, the community lost their minds putting even more pressure on the police to solve this case.
Justin still firmly believed Ayla was kidnapped, although police strongly believed this was not the case. He also stated she was vomiting a lot lately and that is why there was so much blood. He also said she was lactose intolerant which could be true but then it would seem as if she was given dairy for a long period of time on purpose to make her so sick. Also why in the hell would no one do anything if she was vomiting especially vomiting blood. Both women in the home were mothers, if they saw a child sick like that why would they not do something? It didn’t add up, and again I think it was another bullshit story.
On September 26, 2013 Trista and her family confronted Justin at the courthouse as he was there on domestic violence charges from his girlfriend Courtney. This made her family think that he was capable of hurting people he loved, and that maybe Courtney wanted to come forward but he would not allow it. Trista wanted this to be in the public eye to get Ayla’s case back in the media, and to prove that Justin was not complying with authorities or her family.
By 2014, three years after her disappearance Trista tried to get Justin charged with negligence but quickly changed her mind when she realized he would then not be able to be charged with murder as someone can not be charged twice in a case. Years passed and there has not been any progress in this case, Justin moved as far away as possible from Maine to Los Angeles and went completely off grid.
In 2017 Trista and her family petitions to have Ayla declared dead, this process is very hard to do but with the amount of blood found the court agreed and her death date was set as December 16th, 2011. Trista and her family knew Ayla was no longer alive and they needed this closure, and now with this they were officially able to sue Justin and his family for wrongful death. This is an easy way to get people to talk when they will not. Justin was found in LA and was served but he denied his identity and never showed up!!!! He then moved and had no permanent address making it impossible to find him so Trista’s family decided to serve him through the NEWSPAPER (HAHA). Since it is a public paper he was then publicly served which meant he had 41 days to respond or the case would move on without him. BINGO it worked! He complied and his attorney showed up and answered questions on his behalf, answering all the basics and completely dodging anything related to Ayla’s death. I think it is pretty clear her father killed her, and completely got away with it! I hope someday we find her, and can properly lay her to rest. I can not believe with all the blood that was found in the home it STILL wasn’t enough to rule it a homicide.
Today – Since the pandemic, all civil cases have been put on hold and the case is at a complete stand still. Unfortunately, no one will likely be charged criminally in this case, but HOPEFULLY him and his family will be charged civilly. Below are a few videos I found on Youtube of Trista pleading to the public, and Justins first (and I believe only) interview with media.