January 28, 2012 / 8:05 PM / 6 years ago

Blood found where missing Maine girl last seen

(Reuters) - Authorities have found blood at the Waterville, Maine, home where a missing 20-month-old girl vanished six weeks ago and have serious doubts she was abducted, police said on Saturday.

Toddler Ayla Reynolds of Waterville was last seen when her father, Justin DiPietro, put her to bed on December 16, according to police reports at the time.

DiPietro reported Ayla as missing from the house early the next morning, and hundreds of police officers and local residents searched the area for the girl.

But authorities have since said that they suspect foul play.

"We find it troubling," Maine state police spokesman Stephen McCausland said of the blood, found in the basement of DiPietro's home. "We have serious doubts that she was abducted."

The blood is still being analyzed at the crime lab, McCausland said. He would not say how much blood was found or whose it might be.

The Waterville community held a memorial service on Saturday to mark the six week anniversary of her disappearance, McCausland said.

Authorities say they have interviewed numerous family members in Waterville and outside the area.

DiPietro said Ayla, who is 2 feet and 9 inches tall and weighs 30 pounds, was wearing polka-dot pajamas with the phrase "Daddy's Princess" on them. She had a cast on her left arm, which was broken in a recent fall.

The toddler had been living with her father after her mother, Trista Reynolds, checked herself into a 10-day rehabilitation program, police said.

Following rehab, Reynolds, on the day before Ayla was last seen, had filed papers seeking sole custody of the girl.

Writing and reporting By Mary Slosson; Editing by David Bailey

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