The One Thing…

by Grace4Ayla on April 13, 2013

Trista Reynolds, mother of missing toddler Ayla Bell Reynolds, claims that law enforcement officials have given her permission to share certain “investigative details” with the public via her website, She further claims that she was “told” police would neither deny nor “back her up” in the media if and when she released these details.

For the most part, law enforcement hasn’t corroborated any of Trista’s claims, except for one thing. One small thing which I believe may prove to be the most significant of all…

The Life Insurance Policy Revisited

I believe that Trista Reynolds was interviewed about the life insurance policy on Jan. 28, 2012, the same day she learned about the existence of Ayla’s blood on Justin’s bedroom floor. I don’t believe LE planned to share the blood evidence with her at that time, but their hand was forced after Bob Vear’s leak to the press.

I don’t believe Trista was given an exact amount by investigators on that date. Justin’s calm reaction – “Don’t worry about that” and “If there was something there, I wouldn’t be here” – clearly shows us Justin knew exactly how much blood was spilled (or thought he knew how much LE believed was spilled). Trista’s reaction of hanging all over him and claiming afterwards how wonderful it was to be with him again, tells me she was buying Justin’s lies at that time. However, after watching Steve McCausland’s reactions to Nancy Grace’s grilling about the blood, Trista soon realized there was a lot more to it than Justin and LE were leading her to believe. She started to suspect Justin lied to her about how Ayla died. Perhaps Trista informed investigators, “Justin said it was just a few drops from a cut,” and they replied, “It was more than a small cut would produce.”

This leads me to suspect that it is also the type of blood spatter that is indicative of Ayla’s death and not just the amount. If Ayla suffered an injury causing high impact blood spatter over a large area, the amount might not be significant, but the spatter pattern could indicate an injury Ayla couldn’t have survived. Either way, police have never confirmed any amounts specifically. They have only generally confirmed that:

  1. Ayla’s blood was found, along with others.
  2. It was more than a small cut would produce.
  3. The find is “troubling”.

Trista Reynolds revealed this information on her website, and eventually the description of the blood became “more than a cup.” Was Trista starting to doubt Justin’s story of how Ayla died and the need to hide her body? I think she was. She wanted to put pressure on Justin to either tell her the truth or release the body. Then, when Trista didn’t get the reaction she desired, she revealed the existence of the life insurance policy a few weeks later.

Police reacted by doing precisely what they said they weren’t going to do. They confirmed the information. Then, they never discussed it again. Instead, they came up with a $30,000 reward for information leading to the return of Ayla Bell Reynolds.

My question is this: Why tell or ask Trista about the life insurance policy? If there is no body, then Ayla wasn’t killed for the policy proceeds. If Ayla died accidentally, then this was exactly what Justin bought the policy for. There would be no need to hide the body and there would be no need to clean up evidence of an “accident.” It seems cruel to even mention it to Trista if the evidence points to murder by abuse (the cleaned up blood points to this, in my opinion.)

Why would they question Trista about the life insurance policy at all?…Unless, perhaps, they had evidence she was already aware of its existence? If LE had such evidence, and they asked her if she knew about it, then she lied saying she didn’t and Justin had tricked her into giving him Ayla’s social security number, that would look very bad for Trista, wouldn’t it? Perhaps Derek Tudela could testify to Trista’s knowledge of the policy before Ayla’s disappearance. Was Derek ever questioned by investigators?

Is the existence of a life insurance policy on a missing toddler something “a mother should know?” How is this information any “easier” than the most recent revelations via the slideshow? I would think it would only be relevant if you had a toddler who died under suspicious circumstances. If Ayla is only missing, how is having a life insurance policy a crime? Trista must have felt they didn’t have such evidence, because she released the information on her website (vs. leaking to the media), and she would not have done so if she thought LE had any such ideas that she was involved. She has even changed her stories on how, when and why Justin obtained Ayla’s social security number. Would she be bold enough to do so if she thought investigators suspected her in a murder-for-profit plot?

Trista must have also felt that the information about the life insurance policy would only look bad for Justin. Perhaps she thought it might spur him into releasing Ayla’s body for the reward, since they could no longer cash in on the policy.

It didn’t. Why not?

The Search for Truth

Because Ayla died from abuse. Justin knows if she is ever found it can be proven, and he will go to jail for the rest of his life. As long as there is no body, Justin has a chance. He could care less about the life insurance policy or the reward. He is trying to save his ass.

My theory contends that Ayla had another “accident.” Justin knew if he took her to the ER, they would know it was abuse, and they would take Ayla away. Trista was already having second thoughts and threatening to take Ayla back, filing for Rights and Responsibilities on Dec 15. Justin thought if he killed Ayla, and staged a kidnapping, he could delay an autopsy until the cause of death couldn’t be found and still collect on the life insurance policy. As the case played out in the media, Justin found out that prior abuse could be determined from bones, and whatever “accident” Ayla had must have involved both blood and bones, or again, why still no body?

The life insurance policy is no red herring. It is actually the one thing that makes everything else make sense.

If it wasn’t for the life insurance policy, Justin wouldn’t have had Ayla. He took her on one condition. He bought the policy the very same day of the so-called “team meeting.”

CPS did not get involved with Trista until she tried to give Ayla to Justin and her family resisted because of his prior abuse. I believe Jessica fought vehemently against it to the point the police were called, and Trista was made to leave because she was the danger to the kids. Jessica called Trista’s bluff by calling the police, and Trista went to rehab the next day. Trista knew that “dad trumps aunt.” She also knew of Jessica’s history with DHHS, and of Justin’s “connections.”

Phoebe called in a favor and she and Justin pulled Ayla kicking, biting and screaming from Jessica’s arms under police protection. Jessica demanded a hearing and by law they have to be held within 72 hours. She brought a lawyer and two doctors, yet Justin was so confident he attended by phone. Why? Because he knew Trista would agree to him taking Ayla. Her only condition? He had to move to Waterville. She claimed it would be “safer” for Ayla. On Jeff Hanson’s Answer’s for Ayla site it was said Trista didn’t care for the “partying” atmosphere of Justin’s apartment. According to Tori Gifford, sister-in-law of one of Justin’s roommates, the roomies were not partiers, but responsible young men.

Yet across the street, living in the same building as Courtney Roberts and her young son, Brianna Roberts was busted for felony distribution and sale of narcotics, due to the complaints of “parties and traffic” coming and going from her apartment by neighbors. Although it is probably not the best neighborhood to raise a toddler, it is still a step above the Maine Motel Trista Reynolds would eventually end up in. Ayla would have been closer and Trista might have been able to see her more often, if Justin stayed where he was.

So what was Trista’s real beef with Justin and Ayla staying in Portland? Did Trista suspect Courtney Roberts of abusing Ayla? Was Ayla safer in Waterville? Well, considering she suffered a broken arm, blood loss, foul play and ended up missing. I don’t think she was.

Trista wanted to make things right with Ray Fortier. She knew she had to go to rehab if she wanted visits with him. She also knew she had to get rid of Ayla, a constant reminder to Ray that she had lied to him. And apparently Ray is someone you don’t want mad at you. Last time a girlfriend made him mad, he tried to burn down her apartment building, endangering the lives of fourteen people. This is why Trista asked Justin to take Ayla from her. Justin’s reply? “I don’t want either one of us to be parents.”

The life insurance policy was the only thing made sense to either of them at the time.

Ultimately, it will be the one thing that brings them both down.

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