With Dylan Redwine missing for almost two weeks, dad clings to hope
VALLECITO — Dylan Redwine's half-smile is everywhere in the Pine River Valley.
Missing fliers with the 13-year-old's picture are affixed to road signs, pinned to bulletin boards, stuck in car windows, flashing on digital sign boards and displayed on businesses' entrance doors — sometimes two or three at a time, just in case someone might miss one.
One flier is taped to the front door of the small, sage-green house where Dylan was last seen and where his father, Mark Redwine, now hunches over on a couch, his eyes reddening as he considers dire possibilities nearly two weeks after Dylan went missing.
Dylan wouldn't have run away: He was too happy, his father said, in spite of the fact that his parents had
That leaves hitchhiking.
Mark said he learned from some of Dylan's friends in the wake of the disappearance that his son had been known to hitchhike.
So he ponders the what-ifs and details that might have led to Dylan's hitchhiking.
His son, who had flown in the evening before his disappearance to spend Thanksgiving with his father, badly wanted to go see friends who lived in Bayfield. Dylan had lived near there with his mother, Elaine Redwine, until July, when they moved to the Front Range.
Dylan had asked his father whether he could go to his friends' that evening after they had shopped at Walmart and eaten at a McDonald's in Durango and before the 45-minute drive to Mark's home north of Vallecito Lake. Mark said he told his son it was too late. So Dylan texted friends in Bayfield, his father said, and made arrangements to meet them the next morning.
The next morning, Dylan was sleeping on the couch where Mark Redwine now sits and where Dylan's blankets still lie jumbled. Mark said he waited until 7:30 a.m. but still couldn't rouse his son, so he told him he would return about 11. When he got back at 11:30, his son's dirty cereal bowl was beside the sink. The television was on Nickelodeon. His son's fishing pole was gone. So was his black-and-gray backpack. A few articles of clothing were left behind on the couch.
"His priority was pretty much with his friends, so I wasn't alarmed," Mark said.
In hindsight, Mark wonders whether Dylan became impatient and hitchhiked. "I can't quite wrap my mind around that yet," he said.
Mark said he tried texting Dylan all afternoon in an area with spotty cellphone service. When he didn't hear anything back by late afternoon, he went to Dylan's friend's house in Vallecito. That friend hadn't seen him.
Mark became alarmed and drove the 20 miles to Bayfield. Dylan's friends there hadn't seen him either. Mark called Elaine Redwine and went to the Bayfield Marshal's Office.
Searches for Dylan began that evening. Since then, hundreds of locals and more than 50 task-force members from multiple local law enforcement agencies, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the FBI have been checking vacant cabins and knocking on the doors of homes tucked into the tall pines.
Several possible sightings of Dylan were reported early on, but those have been discounted.
Lt. Ray Shupe, a spokesman for the task force, said the group has broken into teams this weekend. One is looking into all information that has come into a tip line; another is investigating the registered sex offenders who live in the Vallecito area. There are nine of them in Vallecito and Bayfield. Another team is combing through videos and photographs taken along the road from Vallecito to Durango on the day Dylan went missing.
One of the possibilities they are pursuing is the possibility that Dylan might have been picked up while hitchhiking, Shupe said.
Mark Redwine is not being called a suspect. He allowed investigators to search his home even before they obtained a search warrant for a thorough search. He also voluntarily sat down and was interviewed by investigators.
"We went through everything moment by moment," he said.
By using the word "we" with regard to investigators, it is his perception that there is unity and cooperation.
Meanwhile, locals are holding vigils, posting Facebook messages on a Save Missing Dylan Redwine page and churning out royal-blue ribbons with his name and the tip-line number — anything to stay busy and keep some hope alive.
"Yeah, like really, I would say people up here still have hope that he'll be found," said Raelynn Elkins, whose family runs the Vallecito Lake Country Market and La Comida Ranchera restaurant.
In his home, still jumbled from a 12-hour search by investigators several days ago, Mark is having a harder time holding on to that hope.
"Reality starting to set in"
And he is trying to deal with the added weight of knowing that some people think he had something to do with his son's disappearance because he was the last one to see him. He has contacted a criminal-defense attorney to help him with that. And he said he is helping in the search in any way he can.
"I just want my son back," he said. "I know it's crossing all our minds — reality is starting to set in that that may not be a possibility.