Hey all. Gerry Boyle here. And I had an entirely different post planned for today (good news on the book front) until I read Amy Calder’s story in the Waterville Morning Sentinel marking the two-year anniversary of the disappearance of Maine toddler Ayla Reynolds. After reading that, my story of books and book deals just didn’t seem so important.
Calder, my friend and former colleague, walks us through each chapter of this horror story, from the little girl’s reported abduction from her father’s home in Waterville, to the heartfelt public vigils, to the flat and unprecedented pronouncement from investigators that the three adults in the house who last saw the child are lying.
The good news will hold until next time.
This is the case that pitted the child’s father, Justin DiPietro, against her mother Trista Reynolds, who was away at drug rehab when Ayla Reynolds disappeared. Police, who found the child’s blood in the home, say she’s probably dead. They’re still working the case hard. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, police involved in one of the biggest investigations in Maine history will never, ever give up.
If it were I’d have written a very different outcome, one that would spare readers of this unspeakable bit of reality. Stories like this are why I don’t write true crime; in real life, there isn’t always justice.
In my story, the child would have been sold for $30,000 cash to a couple of from away, as they say in Maine. Whisked away in her Daddy’s Princess pajamas, she would be taken to a comfortable home in the suburbs of Des Moines. Or Chicago. Or Phoenix. Her parents would tell themselves they’d rescued the little girl from a life that held little promise. They’d shower her with affection. She would have piles of presents under her Christmas tree.
And maybe somebody in on the secret would squeeze them for more money. Threaten to expose the illegal transaction. And he or she would get caught. Or turn up dead. The subsequent investigation would lead to the arrest of the murderer and the child’s recovery.
Or maybe the three adults in the house had sworn an oath of secrecy. The child’s death was an accident. Negligence or horse play. The trio made a pact to keep one of them out of jail. But it’s hard living a lie and after a couple of years, the solidarity begins to unravel. It starts with an argument over–what else?–money. A threat to go to the cops and tell the whole story. A warning in response. Then one of the adults turns up dead.
And then there were two, one with a dark secret, the other with a dark fear.
The imagination can come up with any number of plots that are more acceptable than the reality of this case. That the child is gone and can’t be found. That all the king’s horses and all the king’s men–and women–haven’t been able to put Ayla Reynolds back together again. That nobody has been held responsible, yet. That all of this happened in our midst.
So I hope there’s a break in this case. That it’s a dream come true for the cops who have been eating and sleeping this one, for those members of Ayla’s family who deserve it, and for the people who think that justice should be served. Which is pretty much all of us.
In the meantime, all of this has me thinking of a character for a new book. A person with no conscience. A sociopath. A person who is able to live with a lie, the most heinous secret imaginable.
But for how long?