The online comment at the end of the Bangor Daily News’ story announcing the expiration of Ayla Reynold’s search reward money reads: Poor Ayla :(

Even a $30,000 incentive couldn’t prompt discovery or recovery of the Waterville toddler.

Police don’t expect to find Ayla alive, and the reward money expired June 30. But disappointments cannot and will not stop the work that must continue in order to reveal what happened to her. Many cases take time. Justice can take time.

And while crime tip rewards can sometimes be useful in persuading people not directly involved with a case to come forward, they are by no means a crime-solving tool to rely on. The reality is that most reward money goes unclaimed.

Though the reward didn’t generate substantial leads about what happened to Ayla, who was 20 months old when she was reported missing by her father, Justin DiPietro, on Dec. 17, it changes nothing about police officers’ commitment to the active investigation.

“It doesn’t change our efforts,” said Lt. Christopher Coleman, head of the Maine State Police’s Major Crimes Unit for the northern part of the state.

It’s difficult to get reliable statistics about the success rate of rewards because there are many different variables. Rewards are often offered over various periods of time and for different types of crimes — some more difficult to solve than others. But it’s clear their success is the exception, not the norm.

For example, the chamber of commerce in Savannah, Ga., established a crime reporting program in 1983 and offered monetary rewards for good tips. Over its first 10 years of operation, the program handled 200 calls per month. Ten percent of the calls contributed to the arrest of a suspect, the recovery of stolen property or the seizure of illegal drugs or contraband, according to the National Crime Prevention Council.

Other cities have kept records, too. In 1993, the Los Angeles City Council paid out 10 of a total of 73 rewards, according to the LA Times.

In 2010, Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers, which offers cash rewards, advertised 92 unsolved crimes, and the resulting tips yielded eight arrests. In 2011, the organization advertised 61 unsolved cases and made four arrests.

Reward money isn’t always reliable, but it certainly can’t hurt. In Ayla’s case, the money was put up by attorney John Nale and a group of local businesses and individuals. At the very least, their offer helped keep Ayla in the public eye. Her case has spurred one of the largest missing persons searches in Maine history and generated national attention.

Police say the three adults in DiPietro’s home the night before Ayla was reported missing — DiPietro, his sister and his girlfriend — have not been forthcoming with details about her disappearance. But they have not said they are suspects.

So Ayla’s case continues. Even though her family sadly should not expect Ayla’s return, hope remains that the person or people responsible will one day receive the appropriate punishment. If money doesn’t entice the truth, maybe time will.

31 replies on “As Ayla Reynolds reward money expires, perseverance does not”

  1. All we can do is  hope that in time arrests are made and close this case soon.  Do it for Ayla.  she deserves justice.

  2. this should be a major headline an the paper and why are they not doing searches no where on the news or in the paper have we seen that have done any new ones so why not Ayla’s face needs to be out there more

    1. Searching without leads, or in this case without correct leads, is for lack of a better way to phrase it, like trying to find a needle in a haystack.  

        1. They do – but those THREE leads are cooperating.  I say lock all 3 of them up until some one talks.  They obviously know what happened, and eventually one of them would crack.

        2. They have had multiple leads, which apparently had them diving looking for Ayla.  If those leads are not panning out, I don’t know that they have a lead as to the location they should be searching, unless you know something I don’t, which is certainly possible.

  3. Sadly the replacement shrine that was put up in my yard was all stolen last night! Since Ayla’s family took the place of honor for Ayla in their yard down we started another so Ayla had a place in the town she disappeared from for people to honor her by leaving keepsakes… the Dipietros said they removed it because it was moldy however everything was removed not just the stuffed animals. It seems someone who doesnt care about Ayla came on my property last night and took the sign,candles and toys. Why?

    1.  You should report it! The reason they didn’t investigate Ayla’s shrine on Justin’s property is because he didn’t report it. Who knows what might come of it?

    2. Definately report it, REBUILD IT, and this time, make sure there are camera’s there placed on the site to find out who is doing this?  I realize this is just common sense, but if someone is brazen enough to take this down, they are also stupid enough to do it again.

    3. I would suggest that someone is shaken by guilt and does not wish to be reminded of Ayla. 

      A small picture printed daily in the Waterville newspaper, and this newspaper, appropriately labeled “Ayla. Missing Since December 17,”  might further  prod and rattle the consciences of those responsible for her mysterious disappearance.

      It appears that the shrine outside Di Pietro’s home at 29 Violette Avenue, and your shrine was a daily disturbing reminder of Ayla,  that some hoped would have been forgotten by now.   

      Someone is obviously wrestling with a tortured conscience.  Toys, stuffed animals, candles and pictures of Ayla only prolong the agony.  For as much as some would like to forget, it is even harder when a nagging and unbearable conscience has its foot wedged in the door to a person’s mind.

      Put up another picture. 


  4. So very sad. No one seen anything, heard anything, will speak anything.

    Makes one think of the three monkeys. Throw them a few very ripe bananas

  5. What is not a mystery is who is responsible for the “foul play” Ayla met:
    1.  Single, unemployed father takes out life insurance policy, not for, but against child.
    2.  Father telegraphs plans; texts mother;  worried about child going missing.
    3.  6 weeks later, the child “goes missing.” 
    4.  Father fails polygraph (or “smokes” it, but results are “irrelevant”)
    5.  Child’s blood is found in the basement of the home. 
    6. Police report all three adults lying, via withholding information about Ayla’s demise.
    7. History of battered child, bruises, injuries and finally untreated broken arm.

    What mystery remains is where Ayla’s body can be found, and why the father hasn’t been arrested. The difficulty may be in whether or not to charge all three, “in concert” if one does not accept a plea deal to testify against the other. Let’s hope arrests effected with or without body.

    1. This is the first time i have heard about the life insurance or the text messages about her going missing 6 weeks prior.  This enrages me even more as to why the State Police have not locked up the father.  Come on folks, the state of Florida didnt have that much on Casey Anthony…Bring a circumstantial case if need be but lets have someone take some responsibility for this little girl.  By now that body is long long gone.

      1. This is the real world, not “CSI: Miami.” The police need evidence to arrest people in the real world. One’s mere presence at a crime scene is not enough to justify an arrest.

  6. This is so sad! I still wake up every morning and come on here hoping that Ayla is found. I realize there is a slim to none chance she is alive but her mother needs closure! Yes notice I did say mother, I agree with alot of others that Trista had no involvement in her daughter going missing. But she deserves closure. I am still going to check the websites daily until she is found. :’ (

  7. Amazing all the people who KNOW what happened.  Why don’t the police call them as witnesses?  Why don’t they come forward and sign a statement? 

    BECAUSE they actually KNOW nothing.  

    I’d love to see this case cleared.  I would love to see the parents exonerated.  I would love to see them sue the feces out of the folks here who are slandering them.

    1. oh please. the father is, at minimum, guilty of neglect. who leaves a 2-yr-old unattended for 12- 14  hrs without EVER checking on her?

      1.  Under our law, the father is currently “guilty” of nothing.  It takes a judge or jury to assess his guilt or innocence, not a bunch of vigilante commentators.

    2.  True, we do not know exactly what happened to this precious little girl but I’ll bet my right arm that at least one of the parents does.

    3. Hey Mark, maybe you know something that we dont.  Surely you should enlighten us how blood found its way onto the floor, how one child could be taken so randomly and another right there as well was left safe and sound, and why police believe that the three adults in that home have been lying and not forthcoming?  People come to conclusions based on the facts laid out, so unless you have facts that prove otherwise, i really dont know what you are complaining about?

  8. “Police say the three adults in DiPietro’s home the night before Ayla was reported missing — DiPietro, his sister and his girlfriend — have not been forthcoming with details about her disappearance. ”

  9. I would suspect the child is buried in the basement, The police need to scan the basement with sonar or x-ray equipment to find the location.

  10. The guy killed her and dumped the body in the river prolly above the mill closer to the 2 cent bridge it all makes sense seen as how the guy was all screwed up on bath salts and paniced.

    But paniced over what what could have happended theres just no excuse for snuffing out your child and what kind of people would cover that up. The sick part of it all is he prolly talked it over with the other 2 people and they prolly came up wit a few ideas on how they where gonna kill .

    cant believe hes getting away with this

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