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Ayla's mom may sue social services agency

NEED TO KNOW
  • Missing girl's mom claims dad took out life insurance policy on child
  • Mom says she may sue DHHS for failing to protect Ayla
  • Teen accused of vandalizing home where Ayla last seen
Ayla's mom may sue social services agency

The mother of a missing Maine toddler has claimed in several new interviews that Ayla Reynolds’ father obtained life insurance on the child before her disappearance.

Trista Reynolds told WGME that Justin DiPietro took out the life insurance policy on Ayla after he got custody of her late last year. Police will not confirm or deny the claim, and Justin DiPietro has not responded to requests for comment.

“The police have told me I can tell people whatever I want about the investigation, but that they won’t back me up with it,” Reynolds said in an interview with the Bangor Daily News.

Reynolds also said she is considering a lawsuit against the social services agency that she claims was supposed to be overseeing her daughter’s care.

She told the Portland Daily Sun that the Maine Department of Health and Human Services should have investigated 20-month-old Ayla Reynolds’ living conditions while the girl was staying with her father and performed background checks on his family members. Ayla was reportedly last seen at DiPietro’s home on the night of December 16, 2011. He said she was gone the next morning.

“I think if they checked up on Ayla, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” Reynolds said, according to the Sun.

Reynolds claimed DiPietro took custody of the girl with DHHS support while she was in rehab last October, and she said the agency did not properly monitor Ayla after that.

Citing strict confidentiality policies, DHHS has refused to comment about the case to HLN or other news outlets. A spokesperson told HLN they could not even confirm whether they were involved with Ayla’s case at all.

An attorney representing DiPietro’s sister and mother is also now speaking out. In an interview with the Morning Sentinel, Steve Bourget said Elisha and Phoebe DiPietro are cooperating with police and have told them everything they know.

Elisha, 23, was at the house December 16 along with Justin’s girlfriend and two other young children, and police have suggested that three adults are holding back information about what happened that night.

“As far as Elisha is concerned, she has been honest, open and told the whole truth,” Bourget said.

Phoebe DiPietro, the owner of the house, has told CNN she was not home the night Ayla allegedly vanished. Speaking to WLBZ, Bourget denied rumors that there was a party there that night and said Phoebe would not have allowed drugs or alcohol in the house.

Waterville police announced Tuesday that charges have been filed in a vandalism incident at that house earlier this month. On the night of February 3, Phoebe DiPietro called 911 and said someone was breaking her windows. In a press release, police said 19-year-old Jeremy Hanson has confessed and was summoned for criminal mischief and violating the conditions of release.

The second charge stems from a previous unrelated case involving alleged driving to endanger, criminal mischief and reckless conduct with a weapon, according to police. Police do not know if Hanson had any connection to DiPietro’s family.

For the latest on the investigation of Ayla Reynolds' disappearance, watch "Nancy Grace" Thursday at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET on HLN.

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