Sunday, March 3, 2013

Why Haven't LE Declared Ayla Reynolds Deceased?

Bonnie has left a new comment on your post "What About The Blood?":

I could understand that a mother could believe her child if she is shown the proof her child is dead even if there is no body. Look at Sierra Lamar, LE says she is dead, and a man is getting a trial or got a trial for her murder, and still they have not recovered her body. (and there are other similar examples. Her parents believe she is dead and they don't love her less because of that. I perfectly believe you can think your child is dead if LE shows you the proof she is dead. But in this case, they have not declared she is dead -highly unlikely she is alive. So if they have "unequivocal" proof she is dead, why not declare her dead like in all those other situations ? Usually these situations don't drag on for so long.

Bonnie's comment on the blog yesterday got me thinking Why hasn't Ayla been declared dead if LE has what they deem enough evidence to prove she is no longer alive. What is the difference between stating she is deceased and stating it is highly unlikely she is alive? Many view the comment from LE to mean that she is in fact deceased. Others look at it as though it is highly unlikely, it is not definite and therefore a chance that Ayla is still alive and in that case, where is she? I am assuming both parents were shown the same evidence, Trista has accepted the fact that Ayla is gone and she has started the grieving process, I agree with Bonnie that it certainly doesn't mean that Trista loves Ayla any less or that she is wrong to accept what LE has told her. Justin firmly states that Ayla was abducted and he is innocent. Since we as the public weren't privy to what was shared in those meetings it leads us to believe one of two things depending on what your opinion of the case it. Either Police have enough evidence to prove Ayla died at 29 Violette Ave but have yet to bring charges or name any one person there that night or all three of them there that night as a suspect or person of interest OR there isn't really enough actual evidence to prove Ayla is dead or died in the house that night so maybe there is a possibility that she was abducted. Whichever you believe is your right and your interpretation of the events, it doesn't mean either one is wrong because as I have said many times and will say many more time, no one really knows what happened to Ayla at this point or else the case would be solved and we would be blogging about a trial.

Bonnie's comment got me looking into cases of other missing children particularly those that have either been declared dead or police have charged someone with their murder even though they have never been found and what key differences there are in their cases and in Ayla's case.

The case of Bianca Jones was the first case brought to my attention. Bianca's father claimed his car was carjacked with Bianca still strapped in her car seat. D'Andre Lane didn't call 911, instead called a friend who called 911. Lane's car was found 10 minutes later still running in an alley. There was no sign of Bianca.

Lane failed a polygraph test and police searched his home four times, he gave consent every time. A cadaver dog hit on a scent in a bedroom, reportedly Bianca's and also in the car, on a blanket, and her car seat. Police ended up charging Lane with Felony Murder and First Degree Child Abuse in Bianca's disappearance and was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. He maintains his innocence and Bianca has never been found.

In Ayla's case, Justin has claimed that he smoked the test but also that he was not given the results. LE said they didn't know why he would say that as he was given his results and he knows what they are. Although that isn't confirmation from LE that Justin failed his test it certainly leads one to assume that especially when paired with LE's statements that those in the house are not telling all they know.

Even though there have been rumors going around that a dog did hit on a scent in the shed at 29 Violette Ave. it has never been confirmed publicly by LE.

Another case where LE has announced their belief that the missing child is deceased is the case of Jhessye Shockley, who also has yet to be found. Initially Police said her mother Jerice Hunter was not a suspect or person of interest but that changed once they received new information. Police announced publicly that it was "Unlikely she is still alive" but changed the investigation to a homicide investigation at the same time. Police have not officially stated that Ayla's case has changed to a homicide investigation but have said that they feel she is the victim of foul play.

Almost a year after Jhessye was reported missing police charged Jerice Hunter with murder and child abuse. She is currently awaiting trial and maintains she is innocent. Like in the case of Bianca Jones, it was the siblings statements that led LE to charge Lane and Hunter. In Ayla's case, no one is talking and no one claims to know anything. Many believe that because there are so many people involved and were at the house the night Ayla went missing, it seems highly unlikely that they could all or would all remain silent for so long and it reinforces their belief that they are telling the truth.

The case of Rilya Wilson is another case where police brought charges against the suspected perpetrator and although the jury deadlocked on the murder charge, she was still found guilty of child abuse and neglect. Geralyn Graham was the guardian of Rilya and claimed a DCF worker came and took her, it wasn't until a year later that it was discovered she was missing. Graham and her partner failed lie detector tests multiple times but the prosecutors main witness against her was a former cellmate who claims Graham confessed to her that she had to kill Rilya because she didn't want to wear an angel costume on Halloween and wanted to go as Cleopatra instead so she must have the devil in her. Police announced early on in this case that they believed Rilya was a victim of foul play and were investigating her homicide.

There are major similarities to Ayla's case in the three cases above:

Police suspect foul play
Lie Detector tests failed
Police announce it is unlikely the child is still alive

In this case police have also said they believe that the three in the home are not telling all they know and that they do not think an abduction occurred so it leads me to wonder why have they not changed the case to a homicide investigation or declared Ayla dead? Is the evidence they have not strong enough? Do the police themselves have a shadow of a doubt that Ayla could still be alive or have been abducted? Wouldn't publicly changing the focus of the investigation and announcing Ayla dead change some the of public's perception of the case? Could it possibly prompt someone who may know something but not be sure because they believe Justin or Courtney or Elisha to come forward and tell police what they know even if it seems inconsequential?


  1. And thank you MW for the poster of Ayla to be used. :)

  2. Hey Tori-
    I have a question when say "declared dead" do you mean a death certificate issued? Or just LE coming out and saying that the missing child is dead? No, if, ands, or buts? I just want to understand better.

    This post brings up some very good questions.
    Why haven't they declared her dead? (I hate saying that!).

    Although I'm inclined to believe that Trista was showed pictures, like she said. I think it was said 30-40 pictures were shown to Ayla's mom. They must have explained each picture - what it was & what it meant.

    We're Justin and Trista shown the same evidence?

    Your post really has me wondering why LE hasn't declared her dead. Maybe LE has enough evidence to show it's highly probable she's gone but not 100% sure???

    But then again what Jeff has said about the evidence shown makes me believe that they must have some pretty decent evidence. More than probable?

    Good post Tori-you've got my wheels spinning.

    1. I mean just having LE say she is deceased. The process of getting a death certificate is a little different. It doesn't have to be 7 years before someone is declared dead, actually for a death certificate issued even now, all someone would have to show the courts evidence that the person is dead or believed to be dead, after 7 years you need to show proof that the person is alive or else they will automatically be declared dead which is something I have planned for a future post.

      If LE declared her deceased and this is a homicide investigation it would certainly change things for many following the case and I also wonder why they haven't. They don't need to charge someone in order to do that so the excuse that they don't know which one of the three is guilty doesn't hold water in this case. I can't understand what is preventing LE from doing this unless they themselves are not 100% sure she is deceased.

    2. That's what I thought you were saying. I just wanted to make sure I understood so that I was on the same page as you. :)

      This post, more so than any others really made me think. I read this before bed & I dreamed of searching for Ayla. A bunch of different people were all looking for her.

      No matter what happened to her and no matter who did what-I pray this beautiful child has justice. She deserves this much & a whole lot more.

    3. Thanks ChickenLittle, I hope there are many more thought provoking posts to come, I think the truth of what happened to Ayla is somewhere in the middle of what "each side" thinks and really no matter what each of us thinks happened at the end of the day we are all here because of Ayla and wanting justice for her. I know I am tired of all the hate towards one another and think it just alienates those wanting to help her and I think we could do so much good for her working together, I am really happy with how this blog is turning out

  3. Nice job!

    I found McCausland's choice of words interesting,
    "we THINK it is highly unlikley Ayla Reynolds will be FOUND alive."
    Not we have evidence that Ayla is deceased.
    How many abducted children are found alive?
    As Tori has pointed out, this is still a "missing person case", it hasn't been declared a homicide case.
    Why is that if evidence exists that proves Ayla is deceased?
    I have to believe that if evidence existed that proves Ayla is deceased, there would have been an arrest. This statement was made 9 months ago.

    Another thing I found interesting, assuming both family's were shown the same evidence, why such different reactions?
    The DiPietro's said of their meeting with MSP in Nov. that it brought them HOPE. That they felt MSP was working with them and not against them.
    The Reynold's family believes that what MSP shared with them was unequivocal evidence that Ayla is deceased...according to Jeff. ...
    Is MSP sharing different things with the paternal and maternal families?
    Much, much to ponder.

    1. I again tried to look at both sides of the coin here and it is possible that they were shown different evidence, that is something I had not considered.

      I personally don't understand how it would be a detriment to the case to publicly change the status and although they have said they suspect foul play, they never publicly changed the status of the case as they have in other cases. I also don't understand why they have not ruled out or named anyone as a suspect or person of interest. If they were sure one way or the other, what is the harm is announcing that?

    2. Right! It hasn't been declared a homicide case, which I think it very important. However, Chief Joseph Massey did say this:

      “At this point, we believe that foul play has occurred in connection with Ayla's disappearance …This case has evolved from the search for a missing child to a criminal investigation.”

      But what sort of "criminal investigation"? They never specified.

    3. Maybe that is what LE meant that it is a criminal investigation that it is a homicide investigation but they have been so vague

    4. It's still listed as a missing person investigation though... It's not uncommon for missing person and criminal investigation to go together once they determine the missing person is not missing of their own volition. As in, Ayla did not leave the house on her own.

    5. It seems to me that if LE had "unequivocal" evidence Ayla was killed, this would have been classified as homicide, they don't shy from doing it in other situations.
      And in the case Justin, Elisha and Courtney were shown the "unequivocal" evidence that Ayla died in the house, how would they see positively that LE has "unequivocal" evidence against them that one of them killed Ayla ? Apparently communication has resumed between them and the police.
      Too many inconstencies, unanswered questions before we, the public, can accuse anyone 100 % of Ayla's disappearance or murder.

  4. Interesting post. I think law enforcement is playing both sides of the fence, and hoping to lure someone into a false sense of security. Ayla is dead, and Trista is moving on with her life. Or so she THINKS.

    Nothing that was released about Trista's meeting makes sense. Like someone said, the DiPietros emerged from their meeting "hopeful" and the lines of communication were reopened between them and law enforcement.

    Stephen mccausland said the meeting with the Dipietrod was positive. What could be positive about showing a parent damning evidence that his child is dead and the evidence against him is "unequivocal"? Better yet, what did mccausland say about Trista's meeting? He refused to characterize the tone. Then a month later she goes on offense. HMM

    It's not rocket science folks. Something is not fitting into this equation.

    1. I've thought the same, but I also wonder if, by pointing these possibilities out (that it's a tactic to instill a false sense of security), are we hindering their efforts?

    2. McCausland did say though that they told her what they felt a mother should know and from that statement I took it as they were sympathetic towards Trista, not that they thought she was a suspect

    3. "Stephen mccausland said the meeting with the Dipietrod was positive. What could be positive about showing a parent damning evidence that his child is dead and the evidence against him is "unequivocal"?"

      Obscure - IMO MSP wasn't implying the meeting was positive in the way you're inferring it was. I think he was saying it was a positive step to have the two sides (MSP & Dipietro family) speaking again. It was the Attorney, Bourget, who classified the meeting as giving the family "hope". We don't know what he is referring to or if it is typical "lawyerspeak".

      "I'm not going to disclose what was discussed, but it was a frank conversation," he said. "So there has been some renewed communication."

      When asked whether the conversation changed the course of the investigation, McCausland said no.

      "We wanted to give them an update, and we were very frank in the information we shared with them," he said. "I viewed the meeting with the DiPietros as positive."

      Steve Bourget, the Augusta attorney who represents Elisha DiPietro and Phoebe DiPietro, agreed with McCausland that the meeting was a positive step.

      "It brought hope back to this family that the police were working for them and not against them," Bourget said by phone Friday. "The family is still hoping for the safe return of Ayla alive."

    4. Of course Dee is right, we don't know what Bourget was referring to, when saying the meeting brought hope to the DiPitero family. However, I don't believe it was lawyerspeak.

      Bourget is the public spokesman for Phoebe & Elisha, and I believe that he expressed their true view of the meeting with MSP. He didn't attend the meeting, so I'm sure he spoke with them regarding their thoughts before making the statement.
      If the DiPietro's had negative thoughts about the meeting, they could have said they wished to make no comment about it. Instead they conveyed that the meeting was positive, and brought hope back to them, hope that police was working for them, and not against them.

      How some precieve these statement most likely depends on how they feel about this case.
      Those who believe Ayla could have been abducted will see them in a different light, than those who believe Ayla is deceased.

  5. They evidently are playing their cards close to their vests. They don't have anything solid for proof as to who or what happened. Maybe when Jeff does his new post about how he feels Justin may or may not be the guilty party things will break. It seems as though Ayla was injured a lot but who knows really who the person causing the injuries was? Could Justin have been covering for someone or was he the one causing all the injuries? I think LE could without jeopardizing their case tell more than they have. They don't think the 3 are being 100% truthful, how truthful is LE being? Not that they are lying, but they can let you believe something they know is untrue.

  6. There is one common denominator present in all three cases you described. Unfortunately in the United States, a jury is much more likely to convict a black defendant in a court of law.

    1. I understand that point being taken from the cases above but in all the cases, LE announced it was a homicide investigation and that the child was deceased before charges were filed.

    2. I'm glad that you understand my point. In fact, the point that I made is very compelling. There is also the matter that in two of the cases you mention, (Jhessye Shockley and Rilya Wilson), the investigation proved that both children had not been seen for several days prior to their being officially reported missing. In the Bianca Jones case, the father's story was not believable at all from the beginning, and I believe that law enforcement was able to find surveillance tape of the father leaving his car and walking away from it. There was also testimony from the father's girlfriend, and his nephew that he had severely beaten Bianca the night before for soiling her clothes. However, in my opinion, the biggest difference between the cases mentioned above and Ayla's are a matter of perceived racial differences. Look at some of the other cases where the children are highly unlikely to be alive at this point but have not been declared homicide investigations--Hailey Dunn, Sky Metalwala, Kyron Horman, etc. It is an unfortunate fact that a black or Asian person is much more likely to be found guilty in a court of law in the United States of America for the same charges than a white person. It is really unfortunate, but that is the way it is. I have no doubt in my mind that if Casey Anthony was a black woman, she would be in prison right now.

    3. I do plan on talking about other cases here not just Ayla's and certainly think that a good post would be the topic of racial profiling in missing children's cases.

      Out of curiosity, what do you think about the case of Trenton Duckett and more specifically do you feel that Melinda Duckett was guilty in what happened to him?

    4. I think it is very sad that our country would do this but I do feel it happens. I've never understood why.

      People are people. It shouldn't matter if someone is black, white, yellow, red, pink or purple for that matter.

      Looking to someone's skin color as a basis of guilt is just plain stupid.

      Lady justice is blindfolded. (Not meaning you Tori but just speaking of justice in general.)

    5. I agree and Jeff picked my avatar, I think he was giving me too much credit lol

  7. Thank you Tori, you developped further all the questions which have been unanswered for a long time and gave very good examples. Since the beginning, I have never been willing to point fingers against Justin or Trista because most of these questions have remained unanswered, at least to us, the public and LE have been very evasive on certain subjects. And as it's been pointed before it would be interesting to know if Trista and the DiPietros were shown the same evidence. If the DiPietros were shown unequivocal evidence that Ayla died in their house, how could it possibly perceived as positive ?

    1. You posed a good point, I had planned on doing a different post but kept coming back to your comment and felt it was a good topic to touch upon.

  8. There is only one verifiable injury for Ayla while she was in the custody of Justin and that injury was cleared by LE as not suspicious. All other alleged injuries are solely hearsay. There is so much hearsay in this case. Even the medical documents released by Jeff were inconclusive as far as determining what happened when and with whom. I don't believe the pulled leg muscle story. Too many discrepancies. No nurse or Dr is going to tell you to wait a week over the phone when you call and tell them your normally healthy child is having a hard time walking. Not ever. I feel like Trista has more to say than she actually says and if left to her own devices would take a different tone concerning Justin. I don't believe Justin hurt his baby girl. I also don't believe Trista is an evil kidnapper, just lost and wanting of love without conditions. Unfortunately, it doesn't matter what I believe because Ayla is missing and someone carried her out of that house and that person is the only person who knows how and why this happened. I just wish there was a way for that person to bring her back safely.

  9. BEYOND CONFUSED has left a new comment on your post "Why Haven't LE Declared Ayla Reynolds Deceased?":

    "Let me remind you of 8-month-old Aisha Dickson, who was beaten to death at her home on Bald Mountain Drive in Bangor on Jan. 6, 1995.
    Investigators did have Aisha’s broken body, but much like the Ayla Reynolds case, they had three adults who were home at the time and none of them cooperated with police.

    "Every bone in Aisha’s body, except for her spine, was broken. Her autopsy revealed injuries that had occurred when she was just 2 months old.

    "In the house with her that cold January night? Her father, DeShawn Dickson; her mother, Sarah Johnson; and Sarah’s mother, June Johnson.

    "Common sense indicates that someone in that house most likely was responsible for her brutal death.

    "But which one?

    "No one was ever charged. Dickson and Sarah Johnson went on to have more babies. Two at least were taken away from them by the Department of Health and Human Services and later adopted.

    "They moved away from Bangor and Aisha’s grandmother June Johnson returned to her native Honduras.

    "Aisha’s case remains one of the state’s unsolved homicides."

  10. Another reason that came to me today as to why, maybe, police won't declare her dead is because then Justin could go to the court and have her declared legally dead and if still paying on the life insurance policy, would be able to collect whereas he is not a suspect or person of interest?

  11. Tori, I don't think the insurance company would pay out on the policy with an open investigation. There would be an inquiry and under the circumstances, probably would not pay out until the case was resolved. Maybe someone with more experience in insurance could answer better but it seems unlikely to me...

    1. I don't know enough about it, also don't know if he is still even paying the premium.

  12. Remember..."unequivocal evidence" are Jeff's words, not LE's.

    LE refuses to comment on the January 3 meeting.

  13. Jeff says: "Trista is not a suspect (take it with a grain of salt as LE has not verified it for you) and since she is no longer a suspect there will not be another polygraph test."

    Why does your comment make me uncomfortable, Jeff?

    1. Maybe because he says, "no longer a suspect". Does that mean that she was a suspect?? Or she felt like a suspect?? Or was told that she was a suspect?

  14. This is misthreaded because Reply links aren't working, but in response to
    Dee March 4, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    What your post made me wonder is if MSP met with Justin, Phoebe and Elisha all together or if there were separate meeting with each or what. McCausland seems to be describing it as one meeting. But I wonder if Bouget by saying "the family" means the three of them, or just Phoebe and Elisha, who we know him to represent.

    1. Sometimes if you refresh the page the reply link will work, I know on my iPad I have to refresh at times to get them to work. Sorry they are giving you trouble