Statement Analysis®

The Disappearance of Ayla Reynolds

On the morning of December 17, 2011, Justin DiPietro who resides in Waterville, ME reported that his 20-month-old daughter, Ayla Reynolds, was missing from her bed. The police immediately began searching for the toddler. On December 20, 2011, DiPietro released the following statement:

"First, I'd like to thank everyone involved for their continued support in finding our daughter, Ayla. I have no idea what happened to Ayla, or who is responsible."

Rarely can a person honestly say, "I have no idea." Most people can think of some possibility for what occurred. In the last part of this sentence he states, "or who is responsible." This would indicate that he believes someone took Ayla. I believe it was about a week after he made this statement that the police declared Ayla had not walked away on her own. Therefore, he does have an idea about what may have happened to her and he did not get it from the police.

"I will not make accusations or insinuations towards anyone until the police have been able to prove who's responsible for this."

His language indicates he has someone in mind who may be responsible for Ayla's disappearance. He refuses to make any accusations until the police prove who was involved. Again, this indicates he does have an idea about what happened to her.

"Ayla was in my sole custody at the time of her disappearance per agreement between her mother and I because she was temporarily unable to care for Ayla."

He does not identify Ayla's mother by name which indicates tension in the relationship. This is to be expected since they are separated.

In an open statement, a person should only tell us what he knows. Explaining why something happened (because) is considered to be sensitive information.

"I have shared every piece of information possible with the police."

A stronger and more definite statement would be to say, "I have shared every piece of information that I have with the police." He may have used the word "possible" so he has the option to decide what to tell the police.

"Contrary to some statements floating around out there, I have been in communication with Ayla's mother over the last couple of weeks. The Waterville police have the transcripts from my phone for verification of those communications. It has always been my intention to have a shared parenting arrangement with Ayla's mother and I will continue to work towards that when Ayla is returned to us."

The word "those" shows distance as opposed to using the word "these." This is expected since he did not use the mother's name.

While it is his "intention" to have a shared the parenting arrangement, his language indicates he has not or will not go through with it. We see further evidence of this when he states he will continue to "work towards that." By using the word "that" instead of "this" he is distancing himself from the arrangement.

The word "returned" indicates he believes Ayla has been taken and not just wandered off.

My family and friends will continue to do everything we can to assist in this investigation and to get Ayla back home. We appreciate the media respecting our privacy at this time. If anyone has any information that might be helpful, please contact Waterville police at 207-680-4700.

On December 28, 2011, Justin DiPietro released another statement concerning his daughter's disappearance.

"First of all, I'd like to thank everyone who's been involved in their continued efforts in finding my daughter, Ayla. A special thanks to the residents of Waterville that came together to offer a reward for information leading to Ayla's return. I am pleased with the amount of resources being expended from all the departments of law enforcement. Until now I have not participated in any interviews for I don't want to in any way hinder the investigation. However, it is important that the people hear it from me personally that I have no idea what happened to Ayla and that I am not hiding. I have been in full cooperation with everyone in this effort, including not adding additional media hype."

As we saw in his first statement with the word "because," he again is explaining his actions when he uses the word "for." This is an indication of sensitivity. It does not make sense that he would not get in front of the cameras and plead for his daughter's safe return. How is giving an interview going to hinder the investigation?

Again, he states that he has "no idea what happened to Ayla." The day before he gave this statement Police Chief Joseph Massey stated that the authorities believe someone removed Ayla from her house. Wouldn't that be an idea?

When reported this story they used the headline "Missing Maine toddler Ayla Reynolds was kidnapped, police say." However, in their article nowhere do they quote the chief as saying she was "kidnapped." What the chief said was, "We believe that someone removed Ayla from the house." He would go on to say, "We do not know who took Ayla out of that house and under what circumstances she was removed." If DiPietro took her out of the house, that would not necessarily be considered a kidnapping.

He states that he has been in "full cooperation." While there can be a difference between "cooperating" and "fully cooperating," most people will simply say they are cooperating. He adds the word "full" to convince us he is completely cooperating.

The word "with" always indicates distance. In the last sentence, look at where the pronoun "I" is located and where the pronoun "everyone" is located within the sentence. They are far apart. The word "with" does not always indicate deception. Sometimes the distancing is appropriate. In this case, we would question why he is distancing himself from everyone when talking about fully cooperating.

"I would never do anything to hurt my child. The questions of Ayla's arm or bruises or anything else being said are simply ludicrous. I would never want anyone to spend even a minute in my shoes. No should ever have to experience this. It has affected me in more ways than you can imagine."

When you are accused or suspected of having done something, the use of the word "never" is a weak denial. "I didn't hurt Ayla" is a stronger denial.

As an investigator, we would want to know what he means by "anything else." Are these things other people are saying or are these things he knows about?

In his denial, he does not use Ayla's name but uses the word "child." Even though he used the pronoun "my" the use of the word "child" shows some distancing.

It appears that some people may have suggested that Ayla had some bruises. I believe about a month earlier she broken her arm. He does not deny these allegations. He simply states they are "ludicrous."

"I have to believe that Ayla is with somebody and I just want that person to find the courage to do the right thing and find a way to return her safely. Even if that means dropping her off at a church, or hospital, or some place safe. Again, thank you to everyone in trying to help and thank you to everyone showing your support! Please don't give up or lose hope, because that is easy to do. Please be grateful for what you have. I know what I don't have. The truth is the truth and when the case is solved, it will be out there. Until then, please try to remain positive and hopeful as I remain confident the Ayla will return safely."

DiPietro thanks everyone for "trying to help." The word "trying" means the act was not completed. Is he saying that no one has been helpful? He may want us to believe that since his daughter has not been found he is talking to those people who have tried to find her. However, that is not what he stated.

"The truth is the truth and when the case is solved, it will be out there." This is an unusual statement for a grieving father to make. We all know that the truth is the truth. We also know that when the case is solved the truth will be revealed. Every thing a person says has a meaning. There is a reason why he included this in his statement. Notice that he talks about the case being "solved." He does not talk about Ayla being returned or found.

In the last sentence, we have what appears to be a typo. In the letter released, Dipietro uses the word "the" rather than "that." I do not know if he typed this letter or if it was typed for him. Even if he typed it, he may have made a mistake. However, it could indicate that he is not confident Ayla will return safely. He could not bring himself to say, "that Ayla will return safely." We believe what people tell us.

There are plenty of signs that Dipietro may know more than he is telling the police.


In May 2012, law enforcement officials stated they no longer believe Ayala was alive. They also maintain that DiPietro has not been cooperative or forthcoming with information regarding his daughter's disappearance. A reward of $30,000 has been offered for information. However, that reward will expire on June 30, 2012.

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