WATERVILLE, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - As police search for missing toddler Ayla Reynolds, her father has issued a statement asking for the girl's safe return.
Justin Dipietro's statement, released by the Waterville Police Department, includes messages of thanks for the businesses and individuals who came up with $30,000 for a reward.
Read Dipietro's full statement.
Dipietro says he knows nothing about the disappearance of his daughter and addresses his absence from the spotlight. "...it is important that the public hear from me personally that I have no idea what happened to Ayla and that I'm not hiding," he writes in his news release. "I have been in full cooperation with everyone in this effort, including not adding additional media hype."
Dipietro first reported Ayla missing on December 17th. Since then, the Waterville Police Department, State Police, the Maine Warden Service and the F.B.I. have become involved in the investigation.
On Tuesday, Waterville attorney John Nale announced a $30,000 reward for information that leads to the return of 20 month old Reynolds.
Dipietro's statement also includes a plea for Ayla's return. He says he "[has] to believe that Ayla is with somebody." He says he wants "that person to find the courage to do the right thing and find a way to return her safely. Even if that means, dropping her off at a church, or hospital, or some safe place..."
The Waterville Police Department also released a message to the media on Wednesday. They say the large-scale operations are being scaled back and they are looking into 370 leads that have been called in to the department.
The department also takes steps to explain why they aren't releasing all the information they have:
Although we fully understand and appreciate the public's desire to "know what we know" about the case, we will continue to release only that information which is appropriate based on the direction of the investigation, and at a time when we are confident that such release will not compromise our progress.
If you have any information about Ayla Reynold's disappearance, you're asked to call the Waterville Police Department at (207) 680-4700.