Ayla Reynolds' Dad's Confession Complicates Missing Child's Case


Ayla ReynoldsOne mystery has been solved in the disappearance of Maine toddler Ayla Reynolds. But it just makes the case of the 20-month-old gone missing in mid-December that much more confusing.

For many parents looking into the case in Waterville, Maine from the outside, there's been one particularly troubling detail casting suspicion on the girl's father, Justin DiPietro. Ayla wasn't just dressed in "daddy's princess" pajamas the night she disappeared from her crib. She had a cast on a broken arm. It sounded suspiciously like a neglected kid, making folks wonder if he had something to do with his child's disappearance. But now we know it could have happened to any of us.

Both Justin and his mom, little Ayla's grandmother, Phoebe DiPietro, have come out to talk to media this week, and they're telling the same story. Justin says he was carrying Ayla in one arm, groceries in another, when he slipped on a set of stairs at the home he shares with his mom. Falling on the little girl, he said, was unavoidable but completely accidental. Phoebe backs him up. She told CNN she heard a thump and rushed in to find her son and granddaughter on the ground.

Of course mother and son could have made the whole thing up, but I can't help feeling like they're telling the truth. The cast on little Ayla's arm proves the DiPietros did take her to a hospital -- which is not the MO of a neglectful family. Plus hospital workers are trained to spot abuse and neglect, but there have been no reports of them making a complaint to child protective services.

But this story rings true to me for a much more personal reason. Something very similar has happened to me. In fact, there is still a dent in the wall of my home where I slammed into the wall with my then baby daughter in my arms. I was walking, I tripped, and it was nothing but sheer luck that I was able to twist my body so that I took the brunt of the impact of hitting the wall instead of her. Every once in awhile, when I'm washing the walls or sweeping in that corner of the house, I look at the spot and shudder. That dent just as easily could have been made by her head instead of my body.

What happened to Ayla Reynolds' arm has likely happened to hundreds of kids. Heck, thousands of kids. When we're carrying our kids, we encounter any number of hazards, from ice on the driveway to the cat running in between our feet, that can make us fall. And if we do what the DiPietros did -- take the child for medical care after an incident -- no one thinks we're bad parents.

If Ayla Reynolds hadn't gone missing a few weeks later after her dad put her to bed, chances are no one would think Justin DiPietro was a bad parent either. They would just think he was a dad who had an accident with his kid.

Her dad certainly looks less guilty now. Sadly, we still don't know what happened between 8 p.m. when Justin put Ayla to bed and 9 a.m. when he realized she wasn't in her crib. 

Did you think Ayla Reynolds' father may have played a role in her disappearance? What about now?

safety, missing person


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Stacey. Stacey.

I dont know enough to speculate, but accidents do happen and its important to remember that. Remember when Britney Spears tripped and everyone made her out to be a bad mom? Later she was fimled crying holding her baby. That was terrible an no one deserves that. I can see why this dad was hesitant to provide this info, but also bad on his part bc that is crucial info that would make her stand out to the public.

lindy... lindylouwho

My uncle was carrying my cousin upstairs during a temper tantrum and she kicked him in the nuts.  He dropped her down the stairs and she broke a leg.  Sh!t happens.  Is it a little coincidental considering the circumstances?  I guess.  Doesn't mean it wasn't an accident.

GlowW... GlowWorm889

I agree that a broken arm doesn't automatically mean child abuse or neglect, but that doesn't completely rule out the parents as perpetrators. Over 65% of kidnappings and almost all child murders are done by the parents. Especially of young toddlers; stranger kidnappings are usually of older children and teens.

 However, it is unfair to assume that abuse had anything to do with it simply because of a broken arm. I have family friends whose little boy broke his wrist as a toddler, falling off a peice of furniture with both parents nearby but unable to catch him in time. Accidents happen, and little bones break easily. Luckily, they also tend to heal instantly. If there were other signs of neglect or abuse, a case could be made. But by a broken bone alone? Not so much.

ashja ashja

I think he's a bad parent because of his drug history, and his refusal to help the search for his daughter by communicating with her mother, not the "accident."

3Happ... 3HappylKidds

My son was 12 an half months old.. I was walking out a church.. And fell down icy stairs while carrying my son.. I destroyed my back and nothing happened to my boy.. I protected him and made sure he didnt hit the ground/stairs.. .. Just saying

Saphi... SaphiraJFire

There is a lot of what ifs on this situation.

We will never knowwhat happend till the investigation is complete.

Akgirl85 Akgirl85

The father has tried to stay as much out of the spotlight as possible, unlike the mother who seemed perky and glad to be on the Today show as much as possible. He did one interview to clear the air and was very serious and somber. I believe him.

Melis... Melissa042807

If I had a dollar for every time my son has thrashed his way out of my arms and bashed his head on the floor while throwing a fit, I'd get a pedicure way more often. 

Crap happens. It's a given when you have kids. 

My gut is leaning toward the dad not having anything to do with the disappearance, but who knows. Maybe someday we will. Maybe we won't. 

Boobo... Boobookittt74

I don't know enough about the case to speculate but that one think wouldn't strike me as odd. Kids get hurt ALL the time. My 4 yr old used to have a CONSTANT knot on her head EVERytime it healed she would hit her heAd on something else and get another one I swear I was scared she was gonna brain damage herself !

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