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Ayla Reynolds

For locals here in Maine, the case of missing baby Ayla Reynolds continues to mystify and confuse. Comments at the web site for the Portland Press Herald run the gamut from the typical lifestyle-bashing of self-righteous Tea Party types who want to focus on the mother’s drug issues and other family problems, to those who seem solely and rightfully concerned about the safety of Ayla.

One question that comes up frequently concerns Ayla Reynolds’ paternal grandparents. On her mother’s side, her grandfather has been a frequent and outspoken advocate for his grand-daughter. The mother, Trista Reynolds, and other family members on that side of the family have also given interviews. We have heard absolutely nothing from Ayla’s paternal grandparents, and almost as little from her father, Justin DiPietro.

As we saw during the Casey Anthony trial, grandparents are not an aloof, objective group of bystanders but frequently are deeply enmeshed in relationships with their children and their spouses, as well as in the lives of their grandchildren. So it is not unreasonable to wonder why we have not heard from Ayla’s paternal grandparents. Not only have we not heard from them, the media has barely mentioned them, if at all.

It does not help that Justin has been AWOL from the media. He has said nothing publicly but has released two written statements through the Waterville, Maine, police department. In his latest statement, which was issued yesterday,  he says he is “innocent” and has been laying low only to keep from feeding the media frenzy about the case.

Fair enough, up to a point.

The truth is, what might have seemed a private family matter in years past is now a very public, community concern. In today’s media-saturated world, the line between public and private is not only blurred, it barely exists. And public interest in this case is not mere voyeurism. There is some of that, but I think people are genuinely concerned and emotionally involved when something like this happens to a child like Ayla.

So it makes sense when we wonder about her grandparents, where they are, what their relationship is like with the little girl, her parents, and the rest of her extended family. If Justin felt anguish at the thought that Ayla was going to be taken from him and sent to live with a mother with an addiction problem, it is not unreasonable to wonder if his parents – Ayla’s grandparents – stepped in to “rescue” this child.

Eventually, the public will have answers. Until then, we are all left to wonder: What do the grandparents know? Where are they during this crisis? Do they have Ayla?

If you have any information about Ayla’s grandparents or family on Justin’s side, please feel free to post it in a comment below or email me at rake@hillaryclintonquarterly.com