Ayla, 10-month-old

‘You can’t hide from this!’ Mom of missing toddler Ayla Reynolds files wrongful death suit against baby’s dad, 7 years after her disappearance

Toddler Ayla Reynolds, presumed dead, has not been seen in seven years and the child’s father is responsible, at least according to a new wrongful death lawsuit, filed by the child’s mother, Trista Reynolds, on Monday.

Boston.com reports Reynolds filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Ayla’s dad, Justin DiPietro, which accuses him of killing the little girl and disposing of her body. Ayla disappeared in December 2011, while in the care of DiPietro, who was staying with his mother in Waterville, Maine. DiPietro called 911 and reported the baby missing, claiming he put her to bed but when he checked on her the following morning she was gone. She’s not been seen or heard from since.

Prior to her disappearance, DiPietro had been accused of physically abusing the child. According to ABC, Ayla was taken to the hospital in November 2011 with a spiral fracture to her arm, but it was ultimately treated as an accidental fall. The child remained in DiPietro’s care while Reynolds completed rehab.

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After her disappearance, authorities began what became the “biggest criminal investigation in the state’s history” while searching for Ayla, according to Boston.com.

In 2012, investigators found  “more blood than a small cut would produce” inside DiPietro’s home. Yet, since the blood was discovered a month after Ayla disappeared, it “would have interfered with the investigation,” according to spokesperson for the Maine Department of Public Safety, Stephen McCausland.

DiPietro has always maintained that he would never hurt his child and had nothing to do with his disappearance, but Reynolds simply doesn’t believe him.

“Not a day goes by that I’m not haunted by what happened to Ayla,” Reynolds said after filing the lawsuit. “Justin, I promise you, wherever you are, one day you will have to face me and tell me the truth of what really happened to Ayla. “You can’t hide from this forever.”

Although Reynolds is seeking monetary damages from DiPietro, her attorney, William Childs, indicated that the lawsuit really isn’t about money, which DiPietro allegedly doesn’t have the means to provide regardless.

It’s more about “trying to find out how Ayla was killed, why Ayla was killed, and where Ayla was killed,” the attorney said.

Information such as sworn evidence from the people present in the home on the night Ayla disappeared could possibly help solve what happened to little girl. Reynolds hopes that the information and evidence brought forth in the civil trial will eventually lead to criminal charges for her daughter’s disappearance.

“We’ve been at this for seven years,” Reynolds said on Monday, “so I’ve got to have hope somewhere.”

Ayla Reynolds' mother holds news conference

Ayla Reynolds' mother, Trista Reynolds, and her lawyer are holding a news conference in Portland. Today marks seven years since the 20-month-old disappeared.

Posted by WGME CBS 13 News, Portland on Monday, December 17, 2018

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[Feature Photo: Ayla Reynolds/Handout]