Authorities in Maine held a news conference Thursday afternoon to update the public on the case of missing toddler Ayla Reynolds. The two-year-old has been missing for nearly six months and authorities now report they think the child is dead.
"We think it is highly unlikely Ayla Reynolds will be found alive. Nothing points in that direction," said Steve McCausland of the Maine Department of Public Safety.
McCausland was joined at the news conference by Waterville attorney John Nale, who spoke directly to the person responsible for Ayla's disappearance, saying, "Someday you will be held accountable."
AYLA REYNOLDS CASE PHOTOS: (Article Continues Below)
Investigators are searching for Ayla Reynolds, a 20-month-old Maine girl believed to have vanished from her bed while her family slept. Reynolds' father, Justin DiPietro, told investigators he last saw the child at around 8 p.m. on Dec. 16, 2011, when he put her to sleep in her own bedroom. The following morning, at around 8:50 a.m., he called police to say her bed was empty. This photograph was posted on a Facebook page dedicated to the missing toddler.
Police in Waterville, Maine, started searching for Reynolds on the morning of Dec. 17. They later called in outside agencies for assistance. This photograph of Reynolds was posted on a Facebook page dedicated to the missing toddler.
Reynolds is described as 2 feet, 9 inches tall, about 30 pounds, with short blonde hair and blue eyes. This photograph was posted on a Facebook page dedicated to the missing toddler.
Reynolds was wearing green pajamas with polka dots at the time of her disappearance. She also had a soft cast on her left arm. This photograph was posted on a Facebook page dedicated to the missing toddler.
Reynolds was living with her father in Waterville. Her mother lives in Portland. This photograph was posted on a Facebook page dedicated to the missing toddler.
Maine wardens search a field on Monday, Dec. 19, 2011, two blocks from the home where 20-month-old Ayla Reynolds vanished from her bed sometime late Friday or early Saturday in Waterville, Maine. The Maine Warden Service, the FBI and Maine State Police have assisted Waterville police in the search. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
A state trooper walks to his cruiser on Monday, Dec. 19, 2011, in front of the home where 20-month-old Ayla Reynolds vanished from her bed sometime late Friday or early Saturday. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
A Waterville police cruiser idles on Monday, Dec. 19, 2011, across the street from the home where 20-month-old Ayla Reynolds vanished from her bed sometime late Friday or early Saturday in Waterville, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
A billboard alerts passersby about missing toddler Ayla Reynolds.
Nale said the $30,000 reward that is being offered for information in the case will end on June 30. The reward money was gathered through donations from residents and businesses in the Waterville area, he said.
According to McCausland, the reward is the biggest ever offered in Maine for a missing person.
"For someone who may be withholding information, there are now 30 days left to take advantage of this reward," McCausland said.
Ayla's father, Justin DiPietro, reported the child missing just before 9 a.m. on Dec. 17, 2011. DiPietro told authorities that he found an empty bed when he went to wake the child. Police say DiPietro, his girlfriend and his sister were all at home on the night of the disappearance.
Authorities maintain that DiPietro has not been cooperative or forthcoming with information regarding his daughter's disappearance.
"She did not leave that home by herself and she was not abducted," McCausland said. "We believe [Justin DiPietro] knows more than he has told us. ... We think that he or the two others inside that home may have information that they just haven't told us."
McCausland said authorities suspect foul play and are still waiting on some items from inside Ayla's father's home to be analyzed by the crime lab. Regardless of those results, he said the case is far from cold and the investigation will continue.
"This isn't 'CSI' where everything is solved in 60 minutes. Some cases require a great deal of time and effort," he said. "This case will remain active until we find her. Period."