Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Taking of Ayla Reynolds

The untold story of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services involvement in the case of a missing child.  by Terrilyn Simpson
Ayla Reynolds, now presumed dead, was visibly afraid of her father. On the day he came to get her, up until the moment she saw him, she’d been a happy child. A Lewiston police officer who entered the apartment first, described the one-and-a-half-year-old towheaded toddler as, “laughing, playing and attempting to make conversation with me.”

The officer had informed Aunt Jessica Reynolds, who was temporarily watching Ayla and her brother for mother Trista Reynolds, who had physical custody, that father Justin Dipietro was outside, there to collect his daughter. The aunt objected, describing Dipietro as abusive and saying he’d “beaten the child in the past.” She said she wouldn’t give Ayla up willingly -- that Ayla was “terrified of him,” according to the written report.

The officer told the aunt that Karen Small of Child Protective Services (a division of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services) had “authorized the custody.” Small is listed as an Office of Child and Family Services Supervisor at Portland DHHS. When Dipietro had arrived at the Lewiston Police Station a short time before, requesting the police accompany him to “retrieve” his daughter, the officer who met with him recorded, “I consulted my supervisor....who stated that he had been on the phone with Child Protective Services and had spoken with Karen Small who in fact had authorized Dipietro to take custody of his daughter.” Reportedly, no paperwork changed hands.

The aunt told the officer to watch Ayla’s reaction when she saw her father. “I then had Dipietro come to the apartment door,” documented the officer. “I noted that upon seeing her father, Ayla immediately broke down crying and attempted to flee the kitchen. I was able to pick the child up and hand her over to her father as she continued to cry uncontrollably.”

Ayla was taken by her father on October 17, 2011. Two months later, she was reported missing from her father’s Waterville residence. Ayla has not been seen since. A Maine State Police missing persons report depicts a bleak picture. “On December 17, 2011, Ayla Reynolds (DOB 4-4-2010) was reported missing from her Violette Avenue home by her father Justin DiPietro. Investigators have ruled out any possibility that Ayla left the house on her own or that she was abducted. Investigators discovered Ayla’s blood in the basement of her home, and the three adults who were in the home at the time are withholding information. Police believe that Ayla is probably dead.”

At the house were Justin Dipietro, his then girlfriend, Courtney Roberts, his sister, Elisha Dipietro, and her daughter who was about the same age as Ayla. It is not clear under what authority DHHS’s Karen Small determined a change in physical custody for Ayla, a matter that can legally only be determined by a signed judge’s order. No order was presented and there is no Indication Small attempted to get one.

Trista and Justin had mutually agreed that Ayla would stay with Trista’s sister Jessica while Trista entered a short term rehab program located nearby, prompted, said Trista by her own concern around the choices she was making regarding alcohol and drugs. She said DHHS had initially become involved following the illness of her son, who was 11 months younger than Ayla. He’d suffered bouts of pneumonia and bronchitis. She said she had not been accused by DHHS of any wrongdoing regarding his care.

Jessica, according to DHHS records, after being assessed by a DHHS supervisor (who was not Karen Small), was determined by DHHS as “appropriate to care for Trista’s children.”  The report described Jessica as a “big sister to Trista” who “wants the best” for Trista and her children.

Officials at DHHS have said that the department cannot settle custody issues between parents. “You need to get an order from the court,” said a spokesperson at the agency. It appears that Small simply decided to sidestep due process and presented herself to police as having jurisdiction in the custody matter.

The Lewiston police officer had agreed to assist Dipietro only “After learning that Dipietro was the legal guardian....” And that was based on the say-so of Karen Small who arbitrarily made questionable assertions, and decisions both capricious and contradictory. Justin Dipietro’s mother had, in fact, earlier that same day told Small that Justin had not yet legally established his parental rights.

When paternal grandmother Phoebe Dipietro, and not Justin, contacted Small on October 17, she said she was on her way to Portland to “pick Justin up and then they are going to pick Ayla up.”

During that conversation, wrote Small, Phoebe “acknowledged that her son has not gone to court to establish his parental rights but they are going to be getting a lawyer and he will be going to court to do so.”

The documentation by Small of the statement by Phoebe Dipietro - regarding Justin’s parental rights gives a clear indication that both women were aware of the prescribed legal process. In light of this, the actions of both women indicate clearly that both Phoebe and Small simply decided to ignore the law – Phoebe by going after Ayla and Small by misleading the police.

Small’s assertions with the Lewiston police completely circumvented the legal process.

Although under Maine law both parents would have had equal parental rights, absent any formal custody agreement, Ayla had always lived with Trista. DHHS records indicate she’d spent only a few hours at a time with Justin – never an overnight. And even more puzzling, Small documented in the October 17 log, “I explained to Phoebe that the decision for the children to go with Jessica on Friday was not made by the Department. I let her know that we were there with Trista when Trista made the plan for the children to go with Jessica and that her son (Justin) was aware of that plan and supported the children going to Jessica for the weekend.”

The entry indicates that the parents - Trista and Justin - did have at least a short term custody agreement. It was an agreement in which Phoebe played no part. Altering the custody arrangement required a civil action - not a decision by a state child protective worker.

In such instances, the parent disputing the current custody setup would file in Maine District Court a petition for parental rights and responsibilities, according to Maine Attorney Brian Condon, who is not involved in the case. And the matter would be legally decided in the family court division of district court. Small would have no standing in this process.

The matter would be decided by a judge - not by DHHS’s Karen Small. Even if Small felt that a child should be removed because it was in danger, Small would have to file an affidavit with the court and obtain a temporary jeopardy order allowing DHHS to remove the child. And that order would be signed by a judge - not by Small. It’s not clear why no documentation was required when Small told Lewiston Police she’d authorized custody.

The scenario, as it unfolded, suggests, observes Condon that a DHHS employee “used the power of the state to effect or create an outcome in what should be a civil action between two parents.”

And any claim that Small might make that she feared Ayla might be in danger would not pass the straight face test as evidenced by an additional detail. Small orchestrated the removal of only one child by police. Small left Ayla’s younger brother with the aunt. Dipietro was not the father of that child.

Another troubling aspect of the case is the connection between Karen Small and Phoebe Dipietro. Given that Ayla was being cared for at Jessica Reynolds’ apartment in Lewiston, the matter would have involved the Lewiston DHHS office. Karen Small is listed as a child protective services supervisor in Portland, not Lewiston. It’s not clear how Phoebe knew to contact Small personally.

And once she’d contacted her, Small not only did not refer her, she ended up giving her confidential information which Small initially indicated she had no right to share.

“She was requesting that I give her and Justin Jessica’s address so they can go pick Ayla up,” wrote Small of Phoebe. “I told her,” wrote Small, “that I cannot release that information to her due to confidentiality.............I let Phoebe know that we really needed to be communicating with Justin on this matter.........”

Then Small records that Phoebe informs her “she works for the Maine Revenue Service....”

She also tells Small she lives in Waterville with her daughter and granddaughter and that Justin lives in Portland, but that he has told Phoebe he’s willing to move to Waterville.

The initial conversation seems to end there, with Small noting that the mother’s and father’s “families are trying to involve DHHS in custody dispute. I let them know they need to resolve issue between themselves.”

At some point on the same day Karen Small contacts Aunt Jessica Reynolds about Justin Dipietro picking Ayla up. Jessica asks when a family team meeting is going to be held and is told by Small that “unfortunately Betsy (a DHHS caseworker) and I had been busy...” When pressed on Ayla going with her father, Small notes “Jessica became upset and said that she was told by Betsy not to allow Justin to have Ayla until after the FTM.”

When Small tells Jessica that she’s talked to Justin about trying to pick his daughter up, “Jessica became more upset and stated that she was concerned about Ayla going with Justin because he has not been in her life and if she released her to him she would become very upset and she didn’t want Ayla to go through that,” recorded Small, then continued to document a report of suspected abuse that she will almost immediately ignore.

Small writes that Jessica “also said that Justin recently had Ayla for a visit and she came back from the visit with bruises. She is concerned about Ayla in Justin’s care.”

DHHS records also indicate a September 29 call from a doctor at Maine Medical Center, detailing a problem with Ayla’s leg following a visit with her father. “Ayla was brought in by Trista...with a complaint of an abnormal gait....Trista reported that Ayla went to her father’s house on Thursday of last week.... and then after her nap on Friday Trista noticed that Ayla would not bear weight on her right leg. For the past week, Ayla has been favoring her leg. Ayla has external rotation on the right leg and limited internal rotation....when Ayla walks she is ‘duck footed’ on the right.” When the doctor “tries to turn the foot in, Ayla resists....” An X-ray revealed no abnormality. The doctor observed that “a bruise near her bottom could be from falling.” It was determined there was “no evidence to suggest non-accidental trauma.”

Once again raising questions about her decision to run interference for Phoebe Dipietro, Small writes, “I explained to Jessica that the children are not in DHHS custody and there was no safety plan completed....”

Finally, again on the same day, October 17, Small documents that Phoebe calls back -- and Small, for reasons she does not explain, decides to ignore the restrictions governing what DHHS can and cannot do -- as she has just previously outlined to Phoebe and recorded in written notes, documentation she likely assumed would never be scrutinized publicly. Small had said she “really needed to be communicating with Justin....” But Phoebe called back, not Justin.

Small also apparently decides to ignore the report of bruises and the concern for Ayla’s safety when with her father. Informing Phoebe that the matter was a “custody dispute,” Small says the families “need to resolve the issue between themselves.” But Phoebe tells Small she’s on her way to get Justin and then they’re “going to the Lewiston PD to get assistance with picking up Ayla.”

And Small unexplainably capitulates, with Phoebe Dipietro dictating the terms, and speaking for her son, who had only days before gone on record with DHHS as being fine with leaving his daughter temporarily in the care of her maternal aunt.

Small is apparently even OK with Phoebe, a Maine Revenue Service employee, taking care of the background check on her own family, with the straight- forward characterization, “She stated that her family is not unstable....”

After telling Phoebe she couldn’t provide Jessica’s address - because it was confidential information in a confidential DHHS file -- Small writes, “I then contacted Lewiston PD and asked them to provide assistance and gave them Jessica’s address.” By doing so she knowingly provided the information to the Dipietros.

Small’s candor in documenting the situation did not extend to the inclusion of the vital detail that she was the one who had “authorized Dipietro to take custody of his daughter.” One has to wonder if Small ever read the police officer’s account of Ayla trying to hide, sobbing, fighting not to be taken, not to be separated from her brother and from family she knew.

A month later- on Monday, November 14 - Jessica Reynolds calls DHHS. Ayla has suffered a broken arm. A DHHS caseworker records that Jessica “notes that Ayla was placed with the father Justin by DHHS about a month ago.” Jessica tells the caseworker that “on Friday they received a call from Justin and he was freaking out and saying that Ayla had fallen onto her arm up the steps and her arm was really swollen.”

Jessica said that on Saturday, Phoebe “took Ayla to the ER....and they determined that she had a broken arm.” Jessica then tells the caseworker, “Trista then took Ayla to her regular primary care physician....” She was referred to an orthopedic specialist. The doctor “saw the child and stated that he felt that the injuries were not consistent with the description of how the father said they occurred. (The doctor) reported that this was an uncommon break in a 19-month-old child.”

Out of rehab, Trista tried to get Ayla returned but was told it was a civil matter between parents.

Increasingly concerned over Ayla’s welfare – she said Ayla was dirty and upset during their handful of visits - Trista filed in Maine District Court for her return. The following day Justin Dipietro reported that Ayla had disappeared during the night. Trista said she had not informed Justin she’d filed to get her daughter back.

On behalf of Trista Reynolds, Portland Attorney Brian Hansen has filed under the Maine Tort Claims Act notice of a potential suit against the State of Maine, the Maine Department of Human Services, Governor Paul LePage and DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew. The lawsuit is currently on hold pending some resolution in the case.

No one has yet been charged in Ayla’s disappearance. The Maine Attorney General’s Office prosecutes all homicides in Maine. The AG’s office also represents the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and defends and represents the state and its agencies in civil actions. Given the behavior of DHHS in this case, it’s not clear how the inherent conflict of those roles can be resolved.

Longtime investigative journalist Terrilyn Simpson has written extensively about the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, including its role in the death of five-year-old Logan Marr. (http://www.asmainegoes.com/loganstruth_intro.htm)

Simpson has received a number of awards for her work and was the recipient of the PEN/Newman’s Own First Amendment Award.

© 2013 No portion of this article may be reproduced without written authorization from Terrilyn Simpson (mailto:tms@fairpoint.net).

103 comments:

  1. Wow Just Wow! This makes me totally sick to my stomach. What is going on with LE, FBI and THE ATTORNEY GENERAL! Does Phoebe have them in her back pocket too?? Something is very Hinky! B

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  2. Phoebe may be manipulative but she isn't powerful. Don't give her credit not due her. She was only able to pull this off because of wrongful acts by others.

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    1. What I find ironic, is how much Trista's battle with substance abuse prior to Ayla's disappearance, mirrors that of Justin's mother. I think Phoebe knew the DHHS loop holes and exploiting human nature because she had navigated it through out her own poor parenting and negligence. My heart weeps for Trista as well as her sister Jessica, who advocated for Ayla and tried to protect her niece. The cop that escorted them must be heart broken to think he unknowingly aided in this sequence of events. I never thought the state would have another case like Logan Marr, but I was wrong. That department needs to be investigated and reviewed by an outside entity and should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. socioeconomic standing,

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    1. Aylas Saint.... has left a new comment on your post "The Taking of Ayla Reynolds":

      I knew DHHS and CPS was involved to some extent of it but obviously they have once again proven themselves to be as corrupt as they were back when they allowed Sally Schofield to kill Logan Marr. This F-ing state is whacked in the heads. And I'm beginning to think that maybe the minds of some of the officials involved with this case are just as twisted as Pheobe and her family.

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    2. Sorry temper flaring my fbomb will not fly again!

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  4. What appalls me is that Pheobe never had her own children taken away as youngsters. She was the true definition of open case material. She may not have physically abused them but the puppeteering and brainwashing/Mental abuse she raised them by had made them heartless and ruthless. I at this point feel like the Tudelas have nothing to do with this. This is a pure abuse cover up gone bad. They have no where to turn now so someone needs to start making one of the 5 of them talk. ie; Phoebe,Justin,Elisha,Lance or Courtney!

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    1. I edited your comment, trying not to use vulgarity or calling anyone a murderer. I hope you understand

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  5. Sorry Tori lol thought it was someone else just pissed is all I should have edited the f bomb

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    1. It is okay, normally I would let comments stand as is but have received a lot of flack so trying to appease the masses.

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  6. Sadly, this is what I expected went down from the start. All of the quoted documentation in this article should resolve anyone's doubts regarding Trista's love and concern for her daughter, Ayla Bell, the Reynolds' concerns of Justin's treatment of Ayla, and Trista's attempts to reclaim custody upon her completion of her rehabilitation program. The fact is, Ayla Bell was illegally removed from Jessica's care while Trista was in rehab. I can imagine how daunting it was for Trista (while trying to get back on her feet) to deal with DHHS, Justin, and Phoebe to even spend time with Ayla, let alone reclaim rightful custody of her. Once again, another child has been the victim of a broken system. :(

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    1. ITA Rose its so sad I've been crying all day hoping for a resolution for Ayla and some closure for the Reynolds family. It just doesn't seem right. Something is definetly hinky. All the way around the only honestly I can see thru all the blush*** is from Jeff and Trista.

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  7. I haven't finished reading the whole article, I had just gotten it in my email right before it needed to be posted.

    What concerns me so far are two things: Why was a Portland DHHS worker assigned to the case? Trista resided in Lewiston as did Ayla. DHHS in Lewiston would have and should have had jurisdiction.

    Secondly, why was Phoebe doing all of the calling? What was Phoebe's interest in Justin getting Ayla? What is her connection with Karen Small?

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    1. Tori, the original involvement of dhhs may have taken place in Portland. Do we know how long Trista had been staying with Jessica? As far as Phoebe calling, she may just have been calling because Justin didn't know how to go about it. We won't know the answer to that but a grandmother's involvement doesn't mean a sinister plot.

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    2. It is likely that Justin contacted DHHS in Portland because that was where he was living but reported above DHHS was involved with Trista because of little Ray being sick and that was in Lewiston so usually DHHS cases are assigned based on where he child resides at the time as long as they have been there over 30 days.

      I don't think it is weird that Phoebe was the one that called it just makes it appear she was the one pushing Justin to get Ayla and maybe he wasn't the one who wanted custody of her but doing it at Phoebe's insistence.

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    3. Ok, I'm going to give your thought on this the benefit of the doubt here... Is it a bad thing for a mother to tell her son that he needs to take an active role in his child's life? Still doesn't have to point to something sinister. It would be no different than Ron telling Trista to straighten up and take care of her children. That is what parents do. There's so much conjecture in all of this. Insinuation that a grandmother wanting to help her son take responsibility for his child is a bad thing. Phoebe allegedly raised her children without their fathers. Maybe she didn't want her son making the same mistakes and abandoning his child? Phoebe helping Justin get Ayla does not have to mean something evil...

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    4. I think you are misinterpreting what I am saying, I am not insinuating it is bad in any regard. There are a lot of reasons Phoebe could have insisted Justin take Ayla and they could all be noble reasons. My question/concern is if Justin was not capable of calling DHHS himself since he was an adult and fighting to get Ayla back without Phoebe calling and doing it, did Justin want Ayla in the first place or only doing it at her insistence. The reason I ask and feel it is relevant is because if Justin wasn't able to call DHHS on his own to orchestrate Ayla's removal was he capable of caring for Ayla and taking responsibility for her? Being a responsible father and being solely responsible for a young child are two different things and any parent will tell you, hard work caring for a toddler. Was this something Justin wanted? It doesn't appear so if Phoebe was doing all the work

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    5. ok, I smell what you're stepping in :) I make all the phone calls concerning Dr appointments, school issues, vehicle insurance etc. My other half becomes flustered on the phone, forgets what the person on the other end told him of importance and isn't sure what questions to ask. I encourage him to keep trying and when possible have him call and walk him through it. Many men (and women) are not good at these sorts of tasks. My brother is fairly self sufficient but just yesterday I had three calls to make for my Dad because he's terrible at it. My father is a good man and my SO is a Fantastic and enthusiastic Dad. The incapability to make formal phone calls is not indicative of being irresponsible or a bad parent. We already know Justin isn't a Fantastic public speaker :) some people got it, some people don't...

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    6. I've had alot of interaction with DHS in my state and my neighboring state as a foster parent. There is no way DHS in my area would work the way it did in Ayla's case. They never allow a grandparent to speak for a parent. If the parent isn't capable of handling a situation, then the parent isn't capable of handling it - they don't accept a grandparent to step in and speak for the parent.
      I've witnessed this scenario more than once, and it's just a mark against the parent if they defer to the grandparent and try to let them handle any situation with their child.

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  8. Terrilyn was interviewed by Fox 22 out of Bangor Me.,

    http://www.foxbangor.com/news/local-news/3366-report-ayla-reynolds-terrified-of-father.html

    They may upload the interview footage later in the week. - deja vous

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  9. So many chances to save this baby & she slipped through all the cracks.

    It's been a heart wrenching day for all of us hoping for justice for Ayla.

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    1. I agree, ChickenLittle. There were two many injuries inflicted on Ayla while in Justin DiPietro's care for the DHHS to overlook. I certainly hope for justice for Ayla Bell soon.

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  10. I'm not seeing any laws being broken here. Can someone point out to me what laws were broken? Justin did not need to establish any parental rights. He already had parental rights. Equal parental with Trista.

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    1. If the report is accurate, here's one law broken: DHHS gave out Jessica's address from a confidential file. Here's another: DHHS told the police it authorized Justin's taking custody of Ayla. DHHS had no authority to authorize it.

      DHHS also knew Ayla was going to Waterville with Phoebe while Justin lived in Portland but was allegedly willing to move to Waterville. So DHHS in effect "authorized" paternal grandmother to take custody of Ayla from maternal relatives without a court order.

      DHHS had multiple complaints of possible abuse or neglect of Ayla in the DiPietro household and didn't do anything about them...

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    2. CG, you and I have already gone these rounds... I have stated the laws to you as they stand. Ayla is Justin's child. They could not legally keep her whereabouts from him. They allegedly released the address to Lewiston pd who, we know, already knew where she lived. Justin was there and went with ayla to Waterville so, no, they didn't give custody to Phoebe. That's conjecture. Also, the use of the word "custody" is misconstrued in a legal sense by Jessica. That's her interpretation. DHHS never authorized custody. They authorized that Justin could take his daughter, which is perfectly legal. I'm sorry but Miss Simpson should have been more careful about her interpretation of these events. I see no laws broken. It even says that Trista and Justin agreed that Jessica would keep them for the weekend. Not indefinitely until Trista returned. Trista did not have physical custody of Ayla. She was not present our able to be present at Ayla's whereabouts. While Trista was indisposed, the only person who had any legal right to have Ayla was Justin, unless there was a court order removing her from Justin and there wasn't.

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    3. AFA to read your most recent ^ post, you're not interested in learning which laws were broken but in putting yourself out there as a legal authority stating that none were broken.

      What law says DHHS has the obligation to give a caller the address of his child of whom he does not have custody? There is none.

      Jessica is not the source of the "custody" information in the article. The transfer of Ayla from Jessica and Becca to Justin and Phoebe, "authorized" by Karen Small, is a change in physical custody. I have no idea what you mean when you say Jessica misconstrued it because it's not Jessica using it in the article.

      And you are in error in saying "While Trista was indisposed, the only person who had any legal right to have Ayla was Justin, unless there was a court order removing her from Justin and there wasn't." A parent can authorize others to temporarily take physical custody of their kids and do so all the time.


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    4. Legal terms are used very loosely in this article. Dhhs did have the authority to authorize that Justin could take physical custody of his child. No one had MORE authority to have Ayla while Trista was in rehab than Justin. NO laws were broken. There was no court order stating which days of the week Justin could or couldn't have Ayla. I'm not interested in going in circles with you again. It's unfortunate you misconstrue my intentions which are only to make clear that I still don't see any law broken. It's part of my job to know these laws and dhhs protocol. I'm no expert but I'm fully versed in these matters. You don't have to believe my words. The laws are there for people to read. Please feel free to do so.

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    5. CG, I do, however, concede that Jessica did not use the word "custody". She said Ayla was "placed" with Justin. The reality is Justin picked up his daughter from her Aunt because she is his daughter.

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    6. Is DHHS even authorized to speak to someone else regarding a case/child, besides the parent? I think it's illegal for them to have even spoken to Phoebe.

      It is irresponsible and immature for Justin to not make important phone calls regarding his daughter. If you like to do that for your male family members, that's fine and dandy, but it doesn't change my opinion on the matter. In this case, it goes beyond getting flustered and not being able to comprehend what is being said. If he wanted custody, that would have been his concern. If his heart was set on getting custody of his daughter, out of pure love for her, he'd want to voice his concerns, his thoughts, his feeling. Possibly getting flustered wouldn't be a thought. His only thought would be getting custody of his daughter.

      The custody was set up by Phoebe, and Phoebe alone. How did Karen even know that Phoebe was actually going to pick up Justin? How did she know that Justin really wanted custody? She knew nothing, because she never even spoke to him. Phoebe even said Justin wasn't living with her, that he said he'd be willing to move. Was that true? Did he really say that? How would Karen know?

      LE are the one's who stated that Karen "authorized custody".

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    7. According to Trista SHE is the one who made an agreement with Justin that Ayla would live with him, until she got on her feet. Providing Justin lived with his mother.

      “And the agreement was, was that he if took Ayla, if I let him take care of Ayla for the time being for me to get back on my feet he had to live with his mother because I thought it woulda been the safest place for her and I was wrong.”

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnCkclFtWuM



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    8. That was after rehab, and I don't think she decided that on her own. I think she was heavily coerced, at a vulnerable time, in which she gave in, and really believed that her daughter would be safe with her father. And she should have been.

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    9. Why was DHHS even present for the transfer from Jessica to Justin? Justin was simply exercising his parental rights. As Ayla's father, he had the right to know where his daughter was located. If he feared an ugly confrontation, I can understand the Lewistown police accompanying him.

      Why the need for all this DHHS documentation and paperwork and being present for the transfer? I can understand the Lewistown police requiring confirmation that Justin was indeed Ayla's father. I can understand the Lewistown police confirming that there were no orders in place keeping Justin away from his daughter.

      If Jessica was concerned that Justin was abusing her niece, why didn't she make a report? If Becca was concerned that Justin was abusing her granddaughter, why didn't she make a report? If Jeff was concerned Ayla was being abused by Justin, why didn't he make a report? If Trista was concerned that Justin was abusing their daughter, why didn't she make a report?

      I don't know...maybe these reports do exist.. But I think there would have been an issue with Gabby living in the home.

      If any of the DiPietros had a history with DHHS and there was an open investigation, then I, too, would be pissed about the transfer.

      Am I missing something?

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    10. I don't know the timing or details on all of these reports, but yesterday Frankie Maines posted that she and Ron Sr. contacted DHHS about concerns with Ayla living at the DiPietros; Jessica contacted DHHS with concerns about the broken arm; Terrilyn's article yesterday noted Jessica's concerns and conversation with Karen Small at the time Justin took Ayla; we know a doctor had previously contacted DHHS about Trista's concerns about the leg... then there are references to other reports by Trista when she felt DHHS wasn't taking her seriously on which we don't have specifics...

      When so many people are calling and expressing concern, alarm bells should have been ringing loudly. I'm not saying multiple calls mean something's wrong, that there's no other possible explanation (like revenge, for example) but an investigation is warranted to find out if anything is dangerous that is leading to the reports.

      Didn't Justin stay at the Tudelas when the others came home? I wonder if his separation from the home E and daughter were living in might have been mandated...

      As far as a case history, who did Linnell allegedly complain to about putting the babies to bed with drugs in the custody proceeding and wouldn't they have been mandatory reporters?

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    11. I agree, cg. It seems there were plenty of concerns reported and this still happened.

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    12. Thanks, CG. I guess I didn't really express myself completely.

      How will ever know DHHS didn't investigate these reports and close the file?

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    13. This is why it's so important to have a custody agreement, without one whoever has physical custody has the say. Before Trista went into rehab she had physical custody, and Justin would have had to file for any rights he wanted to claim. Justin spent time with Ayla because Trista allowed it, it was not ordered visitation. Anytime Justin had Ayla, if he didn't want to bring her back, he wouldn't have had to. Once he had physical custody, it would have been Trista having to file for her rights. Neither one of them had "legal" custody.

      Justin and Phoebe did a custody grab. He was now in charge (or Phoebe was) and Trista had to go file to get her right to Ayla..

      The problem is that DHHS (Karen Small) should never have been involved. DHHS did not have custody of Ayla and had not placed her with Justin. It was a civil matter. Why did she overstep her bounds and become involved in a civil matter? Why did LPD not ask to see a custody order? IMO, they should have, but they took the word of an officer of the state via phone that custody had been determined with DHHS involvement, when it hadn't.
      She had no authority to interfere.

      Small writes, “I explained to Jessica that the children are not in DHHS custody and there was no safety plan completed….”

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    14. One thing we do know is that Ayla went missing while in Justin's care. That is the main thing and really the only thing that matters. He gives a lame excuse that he woke up and she was "gone". No one in the house heard anything. LE has stated she did not leave the house alone and no one went in and kidnapped her. Those are the facts from the investigators.

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    15. What I see is a lot of assumptions being made on the basis of a few reports....not the entire picture.

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    16. "Small writes, “I explained to Jessica that the children are not in DHHS custody and there was no safety plan completed….”"

      ...That was before the Family Team Meeting. It's important to know what took place at that meeting, and what those plans were.

      Delete
    17. McKee, all we apparently will see unless and until either there is a trial and it's deemed relevant or the paternal family produces documentation is the documentation directly concerning Ayla the maternal family releases. If there were concerns about the DiPietro household not related to Ayla, the maternal family would not have the documentation at this point since their records all pertain to Ayla.

      Anon 1, who has the full picture? None of us.

      Delete
  11. What is wrong with Justin that he has women doing for him and speaking for him? First Phoebe and then Heidi. Is Justin somewhat "slow" or is he autistic or unable to communicate for himself. Not being snarky, but just curious. He seems to have done little with his life so far. Even compared to friend Derek. Justin roomed with other males in Portland. His ex roommates seemed to accept him; how did Justin pay his share of the rent? How did Justin support himself? Was he on state aid because he was mentally challenged? Did he work "under the table" while receiving some sort of state aid? He just doesn't seem to be all there; maybe with the mentality of a teen-aged boy instead of a man of 24/25.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Just a warning but over at Asking for Ayla they are all in an uproar over this post calling it not important. They will be visiting Im sure soon. Can't wait. That blog is disgusting and useless and just out there to trash Trista. If you don't go along with their conversation and their thoughts your posts are deleted. Its almost to 200 posts though and is supposed to be done once that is reached. lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anon, commenters do not belong to certain blogs. In fact, all of not most of the commenters at the mentioned blog have and do comment here. Many were commenting here last night. No one is out to attack. Just bring their own view points to the discussion. Tori welcomes all respectively stated comments, last I checked anyway. No need to get anyone in a tizzy.

      Delete
    2. I disagree, I posted my opinion on the blog and nicely and it was deleted, so not sure what blog you were on. I have never been deleted from this blog or UFA so I find that blog to be a bit biased.

      Delete
    3. Define nicely .....

      Delete
    4. I stated that the people that are being questioned should be the people that were responsible for Ayla when she disappeared, the people being questioned should be the people that have blood on their hands, that were worried that someone would take Ayla and did nothing to protect her, i.e., making sure doors and windows were locked, the people that should be being questioned are the people that have been silent since day one. That is my opinion and I believe that is the opinion of a lot of people. Shouldn't I be allowed my opinion. Trista has had her life under a microscope since the beginning of this. Every mistake she has ever made has been made public. She has been speaking for Ayla since day one. I could go on and on, I just think it is terrible that people would continue to tear her apart when it is obvious that she is a grieving mom who lost a precious child.

      Delete
    5. Because I wasn't googling all of Trista's skeletons in her closest it was deleted. That is a blog like Obscures and that blog was disgusting. It makes me wonder if she is involved in that blog some way. She so liked to bash Trista. Her blog is no longer in existence, not sure why?

      Delete
    6. I can agree but how long have these people on the paternal side been called murderers and completely scum of the earth and their lives put before a microscope? You are going to get it on both sides as that is looking at the complete picture and both sides of the issue. LE does not think they have enough proof to call them murderers, scum and low life people, but everyone else does. Why would you think people won't look at the Reynolds family also?

      Delete
    7. "Her blog is no longer in existence, not sure why?'

      Therein is the problem. If you don't understand, you never will.

      Delete
    8. Well personally i feel anyone involved in the case should be under scrutiny - both families - not just one - both. Everyone - not those that people decide are guilty. Thats what Justice is - innocent until proven guilty. We dont know who is guilty - LE doesnt know who's guilty. Some have already judged and condemmed. I am not convinced it is that simple so i question everyone.

      Delete
    9. This is one of the AFA posts from over there "Most of the people who support Trista and believe every word she says around here are people who can closely identify with her.... Just sayin" I find that offensive. I find that not necessary and very one sided. This isn't an attack?????

      Delete
    10. Well Judy on Asking for Ayla you were basically just questioning Trista.

      Delete
    11. A - Your right because i was on the other page that had already talked bout Justin and his family. I dont know alot about the Justin side. I only have knowledge of Tristas side. I am not against Trista - I think somone took Ayla and I dont think that was Trista. Thats what I think

      Delete
    12. Anon you can go around and around about this. Have you been to any sites where people have been called Justin skirts or Justin supporters and taken up for the battle for them? Because some have been wrongly accused of this for just asking people to view the whole picture not just one side.

      Delete
    13. Dana B I think you are wrong I think LE and MSP do believe they are murders, they are just working to make sure their case is tight before they make arrests. These people aren't telling the whole (if any) truth of what happened that night. LE has had to investigate to get their answers. They know these people did something to Ayla, they just need to figure out and have the proof of what that was. LE will get to the truth and Justice will happen for Ayla, Trista and her family. The Dipietros won't be walking free forever. LE has made it perfectly clear who they think the guilty party is in my opinion. They will bring justice for Ayla and I think it will happen sooner rather than later. I think someone is starting to talk. I noticed on Lance's facebook page this morning he has posted that to any of his friends on FB that are talking shit about his family he will delete them and then take care of them or something like that. Obviously the people that they have been trusting with information are now leaking that information. It won't be long till Ayla is found and brought home to her mother.

      Delete
    14. Why would they need to look at the Reynolds family. This is about a missing baby that went missing while Justin was responsible for her. Ayla was in Justin's care, Ayla depended on Justin to keep her safe. Justin failed at this. Justin had blood on his shoes, all through his home. What else would I need to point me towards Justin being the one that knows what happened to Ayla.

      Delete
    15. Well anon, if you perceive it as an attack, you might want to further examine why? I made an observation based on what I see around me. That is my perception. My view. My opinion. No name calling was involved. It's also human nature. Observe, perceive and form an opinion. I was reading earlier at another blog about how certain commenters felt dhhs had unnecessarily become involved in their lives as children and the experience was a negative one. I can see how they can find a relationship between themselves and their lives experience and Trista/Ayla and what they interpret to have happened to Trista and Ayla. See what I was referring to? It also could apply to people struggling with addiction, women who have bad experience with a "baby daddy" and people who feel like dhhs has targeted them unfairly. The issue with this relationship is and identification of experiences is the projecting of one's life onto another. In my opinion, some are looking to vindicate their feelings vicariously through Trista.

      Before you ask, no, I don't identify with Justin or Trista and have very little in common with either of them other than I am a parent who loves their children and wants what I believe is best for them which I believe from what I have seen, both Trista and Justin do, however misguided their approach is.

      Delete
    16. Because no one has been eliminated yet. Once they say the maternal side is not suspect then no one will be asking any questions about them. JMO

      Delete
    17. Just for an example of the way people think. Who tried to get Justin to be a part of Trista and Aylas life,Trista because she wanted him to be a part and possibly they could reconcile and be a family. I see nothing wrong in that do you?

      Delete
    18. I would think you would agree there was nothing wrong with Trista wanting that.
      So Phoebe gets involved to help her son to take custody of Ayla while Trista is in rehab. What is said about her? She may have been doing this because she thought Justin should be a man and take responsibility and be a father right? What is said about her?The Dipsh-ts can rot in hell, and they will get there! Justin and his psycho mother are both monsters!!! What sick sick sick bunch of non humans. If Justin did anything to Ayla that is on him not his mother. You see Phoebe could have had just as good intentions as Trista. JMO

      Delete
    19. That was before she knew who he was, she now knows that he is a hateful, selfish, coward.

      Yes I do find something wrong with that. I will repeat myself again, the blood is a very big issue for me. I have three grown children that I raised and I can honestly say that my house never was splattered with their blood. This is the most disturbing thing about this whole case to me. And yes I believe what Trista said, that the house looked like a murder scene. I very highly doubt that she would get back together with him after the pain he has caused her.

      Delete
    20. Dana I don't agree with much of anything you post and I try to be civil, but the last two posts are really crazy. After watching Phoebe's reaction to Trista in Portland, I highly doubt she ever had any good intentions. Her intentions were to take Ayla away from her mother. It is clear from almost every picture I have seen that that child was traumatized, she was so unhappy and scared there. Phoebe showed her colors on TV to everyone that day in Portland. Did you see the uncontrolled anger she had towards Trista. If she could have that kind of uncontrolled anger towards anyone, I can only imagine what Baby Ayla went through.

      Delete
    21. You are being civil and that is the things about opinions not all agree. I can respect that. Yes I saw them both hollering and pointing fingers. What has been said about both I would imagine would make anyone angry. I don't know for a fact either ones intentions so I give them both the benefit of doubt. They both could have had good intentions.

      Delete
    22. Had Ayla been living with Justin her whole life and had Trista and her mother grabbed Ayla the way Justin and Phoebe did - Had Ayla then disappeared from Trista's home with her blood found all over Trista's home - I would be calling bull shit on Trista and her family.

      As it is, Justin and Phoebe grabbed Ayla, spilled her blood all over their home and then lost her, so it is to Justin and Phoebe I call bull shit.

      Delete
  13. OT I caught part of Dr Phil yesterday very sad.
    A Mother's Grief
    Nearly three years ago, Lauren says she received a call from her 2-year-old daughter, Lily's, father, telling her there had been an accident, and she needed to get to the hospital immediately. By the time Lauren arrived at the hospital, Lily had passed away. In the end, a jury found that her death was not an accident, and convicted Lily's stepmother, Renee King, of felony murder, child abuse in the first degree and criminal sexual conduct in the first degree. Renee received a life sentence.

    Lauren still blames herself for her daughters passing because she feels she didn't protect her daughter the way a mom should.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lauren Furneaux Was the mothers name if you didn't catch the show yesterday you can go to Dr Phil site and view it.

      Delete
    2. So sad, that a precious child isn't safe when left in her fathers care.

      Delete
    3. Not just fathers care, but any adults care stepmother, stepfather,mother,boyfriend, what is wrong with people today?

      Delete
    4. Don't know why that spaced so weird gremlins I guess.

      Delete
  14. Did Phoebe threaten Karen Smalls with some sort of IRS retaliation or where they friends?
    Something happened that should not have. The question is why?

    ReplyDelete
  15. http://www.foxbangor.com/news/local-news/3366-report-ayla-reynolds-terrified-of-father.html

    "Simpson reports doctors said the injury was "uncommon" for a then-19-month-old

    .....Is that accurate? (No) Is that what Simpson reports? No, she stated that is what Jessica relayed to DHHS.

    .


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The doctor did report that the injury was uncommon for Ayla's age. It was either in the medical report and/or the DHHS report.

      Delete
    2. Jessica said it or the Dr said it? The only Dr reports we have seen cleared any suspicion of abuse. When did Trista take Ayla to her primary care physician? We know the fall happened on a Friday, ER visit on Saturday (report shared for this visit states the ER referred Ayla to a specialist) and specialist was seen on Monday. So, when did Trista have Ayla in between to take her to the regular Dr? Wouldn't Justin have been present for this because he would have had to bring Ayla to Trista. If Trista had Ayla to take her to the Dr and the Dr suspected abuse, why didn't Trista keep Ayla instead of sending her back to Waterville? Once Ayla was in Trista's arms she didn't have to give her over, unless there was an order or agreed to safety plan stating Ayla was staying with Justin. Even so, if the Dr suggested abuse she could have called dhhs and/or the police citing the Dr report and declaring her concern that Ayla was in eminent danger. If no help was given, why didn't she go straight to the court house and file for custody with a copy of the Dr's findings in hand?

      Delete
    3. One thing I'm positive of is that if Trista had taken Ayla to her primary Dr. whom stated that he felt this was an uncommon break for a 19th month old ...We would have seen this Dr. report a LONG TIME ago.
      We've seen the ER report and the Orthopedic Dr. report. No mention of this being an uncommon break for a 19th month old.
      If there had been any concern by a doctor about Ayla's arm break, the Dr. would have notified DHHS.
      If a Dr. had reported any concerns to DHHS concerning Ayla's arm break, you can bet your sweet bippy that would have been one of the first things released.

      Delete
  16. I've been following Ayla's case as a lurker since I learned that she was missing in the early days – it was either on The Hinky Meter or Dreamin’ Demon. I don't have a side as far as the parents go, I want truth and then I want justice in that order. I’m choosing to comment now because I have a query.

    Is the police officer's account that this article uses as a source viewable to the public? I don't recall ever reading it and Google-Fu is failing me - various blogs by Mr. Hyatt and the 'Taking of Ayla' article are the only relevant things coming up. Circles are not fun to run in, I'm not sure how hamsters do it for fun. I would really like to read it though. If someone can please provide me with information on this, that would be lovely, thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The only confirmed reporting I can find is a newspaper article that cites the Lewiston police log that Ayla was turned over to her father without incident. They have provided to citation for Ms Simpson's article. Hearsay again...

      Delete
    2. *provided no citation*

      Delete
  17. The sources for Terrilyn's article were obtained from the Lewiston PD's incident report and DHHS’s records. It is hearsay to you AFA because you cannot gain access to them.

    They will be published at a later date.

    Also, based on your prior comment "When did Trista take Ayla to her primary care physician?", you may want to catch up with Ayla’s Timeline, particular Ayla’s medical records links:
    http://united4ayla.com/wp-content/uploads/files/Answers%20For%20Ayla_%20Timeline.pdf

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ok thank you for the link. I've looked before but never seen a Dr appointment in between the ER visit and the appointment with the specialist. I assume there is a report at this link showing there was one? As for the article being hearsay, much of it is what Jessica said and anything else will remain hearsay to anyone who hasn't seen the documents. Thanks.

      Delete
    2. I've looked at that link many times over following Ayla's case.
      There has never been a reference to Ayla visiting her primary care physician. on Nov. 14, 2011.
      There isn't now.

      Delete
    3. No mention ever, on the timeline or anywhere, of Trista taking Ayla to the Dr at that time. Thanks anyway Jeff. So anyone have a real answer to my questions???

      Delete
    4. Nope.

      I read the timeline. All I see is the ER report on Saturday and the referral to the Portland Ortho on Monday. Neither report mentions anything suspicious.

      I see no documentation of Ayla seeing her primary.

      Which is fishy, because wasn't it the primary that was suspicious of the injury?

      Delete
  18. November 14th, 2011 approx. 10am: Justin picked Trista up at Jessica's in Lewiston and drove her and Ayla to an Orthopedic Doctor in Portland...

    http://aylareynolds.com/anon/1st_visit

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jeff, very respectfully, We were commenting on the fact that Trista took Ayla to her primary care physician on Monday Nov. 14th, and that physician said that this was an uncommon break for a 19 month old. as reported by Ms Simpson.

      An Orthopedic doctor is not a primary care physician.

      Ayla seeing the Orthopedic doctor on Nov. 14th was not in question.
      As well as the Orthopedic doctor's report makes no mention of this being an uncommon break for a 19th month old.


      Delete
    2. A!; This is the Dr mentioned in the DHHS log (although they added a T to the end of his name- pronunciation probably).

      Yes, there is no report of an uncommon break in the medical log, only in the DHHS log.

      Delete
    3. Thank you Jeff.

      Delete
  19. Jeff, please read the article. Jessica tells the dhhs worker that Trista took Ayla to her primary care physician who referred her to an orthopedic specialist. Allegedly the Dr said this was an uncommon injury in a19 month old child.

    Jeff, this statement was also in the "dhhs report" that you gave to Judy and allowed her to share with Nina.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Incorrect on Jessica's part, Inland hospital referred Justin and Trista to the bone specialist in Portland. However, Trista had also contacted her primary care physician who also referred her to the same orthopedic specialist.

      Delete
    2. Yet, this incorrect statement was used in the article? This is disappointing. Thank you, Jeff, for clearing it up. I appreciate the effort.

      Delete
    3. Records show that DHHS did follow up with the ER Dr. at Inland Hospital, but there is no record of DHHS following up with the orthopedic specialist in Portland.

      Delete
  20. Jeff, in the original timeline, these statements were made:

    "DHHS had put Ayla in the joint care of Becca and Jessica while she was undergoing treatment."

    "After Justin and Phoebe left with Ayla, the officer stated to Becky that: "if he had his way, he would not have let Ayla go with Justin." "

    And yet there is no mention of Becca in Terrilyn's article.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Correct, Becky arrived late on the scene (coming back from the store) just as Phoebe and Justin were leaving with Ayla.

      She confronted the officer.

      Delete
    2. There is mention in the article that dhhs did not place the kids in Jessica and Becca's custody though... more conflicting information.

      Delete
    3. Correct AFA, but then "custody" is a legal term of which DHHS was not liable of.

      There are documented DHHS log references referring to Jessica and Becky's competence with Ayla's well being and safety.

      Had it only been so..

      Delete
    4. I have to ask, what is the purpose of this article? A lot of the information is false. It may be what someone said but it clearly isn't true. It appears there was no fact checking or source checking. I'm not sure I understand the purpose.

      Delete
    5. Thanks for helping to iron out some of these wrinkles, Jeff.

      Are you sure Becca wasn't present for the transfer?

      "DiPietro said he was going to ... retrieve his daughter and wanted police to go," Cornelio said. "He explained that he and the mother had an agreement that if she went into treatment, he would take custody."

      Cornelio said police called Maine Department of Health and Human Services and confirmed that the state agency had authorized DiPietro to take custody of the daughter.

      Next, DiPietro and one police officer went to the Lewiston home of Jessica Reynolds, Ayla's maternal aunt. Becca Hanson, Ayla's maternal grandmother, was there, too.

      "Ayla was in my and my daughter's care while Trista was in rehab," Hanson said during a recent phone interview.

      http://www.onlinesentinel.com/news/police-log-offers-insight-into-custody-questions_2011-12-30.html

      Delete
    6. mckeekitty, absolutely. I have Becky's testimony as well as the Lewiston Incident report.

      AFA, I would not lose any sleep over it. You know more now than you did yesterday and that is the only reason I keep coming back here.

      Delete
    7. Thanks, Jeff.

      Just not sure why it was stated that Becca was also present. But it wasn't a direct quote, and I've seen reporters make these sort of errors too frequently.

      Delete
    8. I probably won't lose any sleep ;) I will, however, keep wondering. Inquiring minds and all that... I just can't help but wonder what the purpose was. I still don't see any infractions on dhhs's part. Jessica's claims against Justin were untrue. There are inconsistencies in the reports, timeline and article. I guess I'll have to see what tomorrow brings!

      Delete
  21. I just wanted to say, it is nice to be able to sort some of this out. Thank you, Jeff, for hashing this out with us.

    ReplyDelete
  22. It should also be noted that in regards to Ayla's gait reference:

    “Trista reported that Ayla went to her father’s house on Thursday of last week.... and then after her nap on Friday Trista noticed that Ayla would not bear weight on her right leg.”

    There is a gap in between “last week…. and then”

    In the DHHS log it reads:

    “Trista reported that Ayla went to her father's house on Thursday of last week. Ayla returned to Trista on Thursday and then after her nap on Friday Trista noticed that Ayla would not bear weight on her right leg”.

    Is also incorrect, Ayla was returned on Friday after an overnight stay with Justin.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thanks AFA and Jeff for the information on the source of the report. I look forward to reading official documents in full when they are posted at the later date.

    ReplyDelete