The blog Juststopthelies released what it claims are text messages from Trista Reynolds to Justin DiPietro, parents of missing baby Ayla Reynolds. The messages present Trista's half of alleged conversations from Jan. 16 to Feb. 20. Trista's stepfather, family spokesman Jeff Hanson, confirmed on JSTL and his own blog Answers for Ayla the released texts appear to be legitimate, though selective, communications from Trista to Justin.
Mystery Witness Allegedly Saw Baby Thrown
The messages reveal a potential witness to Justin allegedly abusing Ayla. Trista texted Justin Feb. 10, "I JUST AN EMAIL (sic) FROM A FRIEND OF YOURS THAT STATES HE SAW YOU THROWING AYLA THAT THEY WHERE (sic) IN THE HOUSE…" The friend was not identified.
JSTL's administrator denied possessing Justin's end of the conversation and challenged Hanson to publish it. Readers split on whether JSTL's motive was hiding Justin's communications or prompting their release by Trista, perhaps because Justin deleted sent texts.
In declining to comment on the texts or post Justin's end of the conversations, Hanson noted Justin's communications to Trista may have bearing on Ayla's disappearance.
The same day the texts published, Justin broke his silence, granting a joint interview to the Kennebec Journal along with his mother Phoebe DiPietro and sister Elisha DiPietro. Courtney Roberts, Justin's girlfriend, staying with him when he reported Ayla missing, did not participate.
The interview focus was two-fold: challenging police assertions the DiPietros ceased communicating with authorities and launching a counter-attack questioning police competency. One issue slipped into the discussion was the 911 call reporting Ayla missing.
Clamor for 911 Transcript Release
So far, Waterville police have kept the 911 call under wraps. Police denied the Morning Sentinel's request for the recording and transcript in mid-January. Deputy Chief Charles Rumsey said release would interfere with law enforcement proceedings. He justified the withholding under provisions authorizing police to keep intelligence and investigative information confidential.
Except where police claim privilege, 911 transcripts, redacted to remove confidential information, are public records under Maine statutes. 911 recordings are not publicly releasable.
Waterville police confirmed Justin placed the 911 call Dec. 17.
DiPietros Request 911 Tape Release
Speaking on behalf of Justin and herself, Phoebe advocated public disclosure of the 911 recording in Friday's Kennebec Journal interview.
"Why not release the 911 tape? Who is that going to hurt?" she said.
What might be behind the plea to make the call public?
Phoebe, a longtime resident of Maine, may be aware her request to make the 911 tape public will be denied as a matter of law. It may be the request reflects not a desire to see the call contents public but a ploy to appear open.
Or, the DiPietros may favor release, knowing the call is innocuous. On the other end of the spectrum, their motive could involve preparing a defense against any damning information in the call.
Releasing the 911 Call
The call may be crucial evidence for what Justin said or did not say, how he communicated, or information gleaned from background noise and conversation.
In January, Rumsey cited the need to ensure witnesses weren't regurgitating news reports when explaining the 911 call withholding. That rationale is less viable three and one-half months later.
Any advantage to the DiPietros from publicizing the transcript is one they'd enjoy before trial were they charged with a crime in connection with Ayla's disappearance. Whether the call makes the Waterville 3 look innocent or suspect, the transcript release may motivate them to speak out about what happened to baby Ayla Reynolds.