Lawyer Says Father of Missing Girl Is Not at Fault

The defense attorney in the high-profile wrongful death case of a 20-month-old Maine girl has issued a response to the lawsuit.

Michael Waxman represents Justin DiPietro, accused in the suit of contributing to the December 2011 disappearance of his daughter, Ayla Reynolds. Waxman is denying his client had anything to do with her death.

DiPietro is one of three people, including his mother and his then-girlfriend, who were in his mother's home the day Reynolds disappeared.

DiPietro has said he believes his daughter was abducted, but he has also said he doesn't know who took her.

Waxman's answers on behalf of DiPietro are broken up into 43 individual responses.

"There are no facts that tie Justin to the disappearance or death or harm of his child," said Waxman.

To that point, the responses contain denials, admissions and requests for qualification for various pieces of the civil suit.

The denials or disputes include a reference to the discovery of Reynolds' blood in places like DiPietro's truck during the initial investigation, evidence Maine State Police have repeatedly said leads them to believe the three people who were in the home at the time Ayla would have disappeared know more than they have said publicly.

"My understanding is that she was simply vomiting repeatedly, and there can be a small amount of blood in somebody who’d been vomiting a lot," said Waxman.

The defense attorney and DiPietro also say the suit from Ayla's mother, Trista Reynolds, mischaracterizes a November 2011 arm fracture the girl sustained after DiPietro claims he tripped and fell while carrying her.

He admits he did not seek immediate medical attention in his response but says that was because he wasn't aware of the severity of his daughter's injury.

One other dispute is over an allegation Ayla Reynolds started immediately crying when DiPietro took custody of her for the last two months of her life.

"What's claimed there is simply not accurate about the child being upset to go with him," said Waxman.

As for what happens next in the civil case, Waxman says there will be periods for discovery and various motions that would leading to a trial.

In the interim, Waxman is advising DiPietro not speak to media directly, but he says his client, despite numerous summonses and living thousands of miles away, is not hiding from the case.

"He's not going to evade this lawsuit, he's going to participate," said Waxman, who elaborated that the reason DiPietro had left Maine was primarily repeated harassment in the seven years since Reynolds vanished.

"This lawsuit, as I see it, is singularly an effort to get information, because the mother is insanely frustrated about not having any answers," he said. "I'm fearful for her that this is simply going to be a waste of time."

However, if Trista Reynolds wins, it would be a significant emotional and financial retribution for her.

Since Reynolds' case is a civil suit, if DiPietro is found guilty, he would be forced to pay damages that Waxman estimates "could be millions."

The defense attorney added, however, that there is a very remote chance the case could become a criminal lawsuit after an unforeseen development though Waxman does not expect that to happen.

There will likely be a long period of time before a trial happens.

Attorneys are estimating it could take 18 months to a year to argue the case before a judge.

As of this afternoon, attorneys for Trista Reynolds have not returned a request for an interview submitted by necn and NBC10 Boston.

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