Maine judge to weigh death declaration for missing toddler

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine state police say they have uncovered no evidence that a missing toddler is alive after receiving more than a thousand leads about her 2011 disappearance.

The toddler’s mother, at a Thursday court hearing in Portland, asked that Ayla Reynolds be declared dead.

An attorney for Trista Reynolds said the matter is now in a probate judge’s hands. A declaration would allow a wrongful death lawsuit against the toddler’s father.

Ayla, who was 20 months old, was staying with her father, Justin DiPietro, in Waterville when she disappeared in December 2011, triggering a massive search.

DiPietro didn’t attend Thursday’s hearing.

The father told police he believes his daughter was abducted. But investigators who found blood in the father’s basement bedroom believe Ayla was killed.

No one has been charged with a crime.

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