A retired police officer explains what the interviews were probably like on the morning Ayla was reported missing in “Recounting the first moments in Ayla Reynolds’ disappearance”
Ron Martinelli, a retired police officer from San Jose, Calif., and an exert witness for both plaintiffs’ and defense attorneys, said police were most likely trying to establish a timeline of where Ayla was at each moment during the 24 hours before she was reported missing.
They may also have been conducting cognitive behavioral interviews with everyone involved.
The interviews are broken into four steps. In the first step, investigators establish rapport with the person, Martinelli said. They might talk about sports or shared hobbies.
“You’re really not even talking about the case, you’re talking about innocuous things,” he said. “The reason you do that is so you, the investigator, can get a baseline of response for that person.”
In the second step, the investigators establish a narrative. They ask the person being interviewed to share, at length, details from the moments leading up to the disappearance.
“We don’t interrupt the person. They should just talk, and you let that person get completely talked out,” he said.
During the third step, investigators ask follow-up questions to the narrative and ask people to recount their stories in reverse order.
“The human mind only goes from A to Z,” he said. “It’s extremely difficult for a deceptive person to go from Z to A. That’s how we trip people up when they talk to us.”
In the fourth step, investigators ask people to summarize their stories, which can sometimes end with a confession.
These are some of the different stories we learned from the media.
12/28/2011 – Grace said another infant was sleeping in the room with Ayla the night she vanished. Ayla’s father, Justin Dipietro, claims he put her to bed around 8 p.m. and when he went to check on her at 9 a.m. she was gone.
1/20/2012 – Elisha DiPietro was the first person to wake up that day, Harry said.
“It was at about 8:30 (a.m.) that Justin’s sister, whose room is closest to (Ayla’s) room, awoke and started moving about the house in her Saturday morning routine,” according to the website account.
Elisha DiPietro checked Ayla’s room and discovered Ayla wasn’t there.
“After a rushed trip down the stairs and the discovery that Justin did not have Ayla either, there was instant panic. (DiPietro) bolted up the stairs, knocking over the gate that was placed there every morning for the two little girls, and into her room. Nothing. She wasn’t there. She wasn’t anywhere inside. Outside — nothing,” Harry wrote.
1/24/2012 – Harry’s original story said DiPietro’s sister, Elisha DiPietro, discovered Ayla’s room was empty, and she informed DiPietro that his daughter wasn’t in her room. Later, Harry revised the story to say it was Roberts who told DiPietro.
Harry said the revision was a clarification, not a wholesale change. “It’s not that I’m changing my story,” she said Monday. “It’s just that I wrote something that wasn’t clear; and when I clarified it, it set everybody off.”
Harry said she should have included a sentence saying Elisha DiPietro told Roberts about the missing child, who then told Justin DiPietro
1/21/2012 – “It was at about 8:30 that Justins sister, whose room is closest to the baby room, awoke and started moving about the house in her Saturday morning routine. That particular night only Ayla was in her room as her younger cousin had slept in her mom’s room. That wasn’t at all unusual for the 18 month old and her mom. Moments later the aunt walked into the babies shared room only to find Ayla not there. After discovering that Justin did not have Ayla either, there was instant panic. He bolted up the stairs, knocking over the gate that was placed there every morning for the two little girls, and into her room. Nothing.” Angela Harry TLLOM
1/21/2012 – “I didn’t think to clarify that moment better. I had transitioned from saying that Justin’s sister looked into the girls’ bedroom to the sentence “After a rushed trip downstairs…” without inserting two important things. Now there is all kinds of speculation going on about that- which I can actually understand in this case. Justin’s sister would have had no reason to “rush” down the stairs to check whether Ayla was there. And she didn’t. I am angry at myself for not catching that it came across that way myself before publishing the site. Justin’s girlfriend had gone upstairs when she awoke, his sister and she had noted that Ayla wasn’t in her room, and it was Justin’s girlfriend that went back down to check. “Rushed” was my own term and I regret using it. It was a descriptive term that wasn’t well placed. I wanted to send a very long response to two different conversation threads about me/my blog elsewhere on the internet this morning. Okay, the truth is that I still kind of want to. I’m going to walk away from the computer and sit on my hands now.
1/28/2012 – Police say that Ayla was thought to be alone the night before she was reported missing, even though relatives have told CNN her younger cousin normally slept in the same room.
In addition to Ayla and her father, two other adults and two other children were in the house on the night of December 16, according to authorities. They were Justin DiPietro’s girlfriend and her young son, plus Ayla’s aunt and her toddler. The latter two also live in the house.
The two other children are thought to have slept in a different bedroom than Ayla, and police believe Ayla’s aunt was with them, according to McCausland.
1/30/2012 – On Sunday, police outlined where everyone was sleeping that night inside the small, one-story home.
Ayla’s aunt — who also lives in the house — slept with her own daughter in another first-floor bedroom, police said. That bedroom is across the hall from Ayla’s room.
Phoebe DiPietro also has a bedroom directly across the hallway from Ayla, but police say she was not home that night.
Justin DiPietro slept in a basement room with his girlfriend and her son, according to McCausland.
4/28/2012 – On the night that the girl was last seen, DiPietro, 24, and his girlfriend, along with her small child, were allegedly in the basement of the Waterville home. DiPietro’s sister was also in the house, along with her young child, in a bedroom on the main level, while Ayla was reportedly in an adjacent bedroom by herself. DiPietro’s mother was not at home that night.
“The adults inside that home say someone came into the house — a small home — went into a bedroom Ayla normally doesn’t sleep in, took her, vanished in the night — and not one of them heard or saw anything,” McCausland said.
Do you think law enforcement knew what was up on day one?
1/29/2012 – “There were three adults in the home, and their version of events is not backed up by any forensic evidence that we have located,” McCausland said Saturday afternoon.
Waterville, Maine, Police Chief Joseph Massey has previously said authorities were confident that someone took Ayla from the house. But on Friday, Massey said in a statement police now believe foul play was involved in the child’s disappearance and that the case “has evolved from the search for a missing child to a criminal investigation.”
Asked about that on Monday, Dipietro said, “As far as I know … that’s just been a change in terminology.” He said he believed “we’re at the same place that we were on day one with this.” ~ I think Justin was telling the truth here. What do you think?