Trista Reynolds speaks with media outside a courthouse in Portland in 2018 after filing a wrongful death suit against Justin DiPietro for the death of Ayla Reynolds. Ayla went missing in 2011, and was declared dead in 2017, but investigators continue to work on the case. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

The wrongful death suit filed by Trista Reynolds, the mother of Ayla Reynolds, has been expanded to include the grandmother and aunt of the toddler who went missing in Waterville in 2011.

Trista Reynolds filed the initial wrongful death suit against Justin DiPietro, Ayla Reynolds’ father, in 2018. Based on new police evidence, Trista Reynolds’ lawyer argued that the suit could be expanded to include DiPietro’s mother, Phoebe DiPietro, and his sister, Elisha DiPietro, according to the Portland Press Herald. A judge granted the request on Friday.

William Childs, who is representing Trista Reynolds, wrote that his client believed there was sufficient evidence to suggest that Elisha and Phoebe DiPietro could have had the opportunity and means to act either with Justin DiPietro or individually to cause severe bodily harm to Ayla Reynolds, leading to the child’s death, according to the Portland newspaper.

Childs also stated in the complaint arguing to expand the lawsuit in March that an expert who reviewed the police evidence reported that there was a “distribution of bloodstains of Ayla’s blood” in the Waterville home where she lived. The expert also found “evidence that a person or persons attempted to ‘clean up’ Ayla’s blood before investigating authorities arrived to document the scene,” the attorney wrote.

Ayla was living with her father in Waterville when she disappeared. Justin DiPietro was with his sister and his girlfriend at his mother’s home on the night she was last seen. State police believe that Justin DiPietro, his sister and his mother know more than what they’ve told investigators.

Ayla Reynolds was declared dead in 2017, allowing Trista Reynolds to file the wrongful death suit, but state police continue to investigate the toddler’s disappearance.

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Leela Stockley

Leela Stockley is an alumna of the University of Maine. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley, her puppy Percy and staying active in the Maine outdoors.