(WATERVILLE, Maine) –- The father of missing Maine toddler Ayla Reynolds has spoken out for the first time since the girl’s disappearance Friday, disputing remarks by the girl’s mother and maintaining his innocence.
Justin DiPietro, 24, who reported Ayla missing Saturday morning, released a statement through the Waterville, Maine, police.
“I have no idea what happened to Ayla, or who is responsible,” he said. “I will not make accusations or insinuations towards anyone until the police have been able to prove who’s responsible for this.”
According to police, DiPietro said he put the child to bed Friday night in his home, and awoke Saturday to find her missing. Police have said several other adults were in the home, including one non-relative. Reynolds was living with her father while the girl’s mother, Trista Reynolds, 23, was in rehab for substance abuse.
On Tuesday, Trista Reynolds’ family said that the 20-month-old had been taken from their custody by the Department of Health and Human Services and placed with her father. Trista Reynolds said the baby, who broke her arm at her father’s house two weeks ago, had begun showing mysterious bruising on her leg. While DiPietro did not comment on the girl’s alleged injuries, he disputed the Reynolds family’s account of Ayla’s custody.
“Ayla was in my sole custody at the time of her disappearance per agreement between her mother and I, because she was unable to care for Ayla,” he said in the statement, his first public comment since he reported Ayla missing. “I have shared every piece of information with the police.”
DiPietro also contradicted Trista Reynolds’ claim that the two parents had not been in contact in recent weeks. Reynolds told ABC News earlier this week that she had filed for sole custody of Ayla on Thursday, but had not told DiPietro and had not spoken to him recently.
“Contrary to some statements floating around out there, I have been in communication with Ayla’s mother over the last couple of weeks,” DiPietro said. “The Waterville police have transcripts from my phone for verification of those communications.”
DePietro reiterated that he was cooperating fully with police, providing them with any information they requested. Police have said both parents have been cooperative, but investigators still have no sense of what happened to Ayla.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio
Jennifer Graham, Deseret News
Theodore Schleifer, CNN Newswire