Saturday, March 9, 2013

Advice for Family of Victims of Unsolved Crimes

Lois Duncan may be a rarity in her intellect and gifted ability to communicate in written word, but she is, most regrettably, not alone in her unending frustration over her daughter's unresolved murder.  She, along with a talented private investigator dug and dug into her daughter's killing, and have refused to accept status quo.  Her courage, like that of Dr. and Mrs. Harrington, is known to us, even now as is the courage of Elaine and Cory Redwine, who faced off against Mark Redwine on national television recently.

We heard Elaine Redwine's frustration over her son, Dylan's disappearance, being also unresolved months later, when the obvious is the 900 lb gorilla, sitting, not so quietly in the living room, unable to be ignored.  Perhaps her pain eclipsed her frustration, but it was evident all along.

There are far too many others.  In fact, I am backed up in analysis on cold cases and apologize to those who have been patiently waiting:  I am getting there.

What should the family of a missing or murdered child do in regards to the relationship with law enforcement?

Initially, it is all about cooperation.  The first thing, says John Walsh, father of murdered son, Adam Walsh, is to polygraph and clear oneself.

Since we all have embarrassing or shameful events in our lives, the scrutiny will be there, but it pales in comparison to the pain and helpless feelings of a child missing.  Cruelly void of cause, the innocent will be blamed, if only by shear emotional reactions.  If a divorce took place, or an illness, or a history of substance abuse, it will likely come to the surface. As the parent can focus only on the missing child, little attention is paid to this sort of thing, early on.

But what after enough time has passed and the case has gone "cold" even if not officially classified as such, and the innocent parent, aunt, uncle, sibling, and so on, has nothing to go on?  In Dylan's case, weeks have turned into months.  What can Elaine Redwine do?

1.  Publicity

This keeps the case in the public's eye.

While your tears continue, it does not mean that the public's tears do as well; they may have moved on. How often do we hear Kyron Horman's name in the news today?
Aliayah Lunsford?

Even in Maine, people have long stopped talking about Ayla Reynolds, though the tears of some of her family may long continue throughout the night.

Early on, law enforcement should have someone savvy in media and able to guide the parent, and even make contact with producers to get the case known.  This is something that law enforcement can and will guide the parent on and the parent should exhaust all possibilities, great and small, to highlight the child's case.

Television, radio and internet. 

Wisdom is needed, however, as we recently saw how there are some who will prey upon the parent's vulnerability and seek to exploit this pain for their own personal advantage.  Have a trusted friend who can discern between those who offer help in order to help, and those who do so seeking their 15 minutes.  Emotionally, the parent is utterly vulnerable to suggestion and a sympathetic voice.  Discernment should be left to another.

It will be exhausting and for every unbalanced person in internet land sending marriage proposals to Charlie Manson, the same will seek out any case that reaches the news.  One day they are talking with Elvis, and the next day they are promoting your child; it can be scary.

The vulnerable parent has enough trouble not losing faith  in law enforcement or in humanity in general without a mentally unstable person bringing more emotional pain.  Someone needs to keep the Facebook 'psychics' at bay and those of ill intention screened out.  If an attorney steps up to offer help pro bono, ask questions.  This can be useful and can be done from pure motives.  Don't dismiss all attorneys as being publicity sharks; some are of good will, and even sharks have their uses in life.  Publicity helps.

2.  Ask questions of law enforcement

Where are you in the investigation?
What do you want me to do?
What is it you don't want me to say?   Trust must be built up, especially early on in the investigation.

But what happens when one is constantly told, "No, don't say anything to media" and the weeks have turned into months?

At what point does the citizen need to take matters into his or her own hands and go to the press?  This is where trust comes in.

Why can't I say this in public?

Trust is a two-way street.

3.  Insist on a specific investigator where applicable.

We all know of dedicated professionals in law enforcement, but we also know of the bullies who, being armed and walking like a boy scout in his first uniform, tell someone to do this, and this is done; do that, and that is done, and the small minded bully emerges as a tyrant, using shout downs, talk overs, and intimidation.

The dedicated intelligent professional will not likely agree with the parent who asks for a change, but he or she knows, just the same, why it is necessary.  The ones with the strong intellects, like in business settings, are forced to endure with the low-brow, foul mouthed ignorance of the bully. (Remember the interview of Kevin Fox, father of murdered Riley Fox?)

It is like the vulnerable cancer patient, desperate for comfort, having a doctor with poor bedside manner:  the doctor may be knowledgeable, but he is hurting the patient unnecessarily:  ask for a new patient.

Elaine Redwine and others in her shoes should not be afraid to ask an investigator questions.

"What is your education level?"  is one that can help.
"Have you ever investigated a missing child before?"  (Some, thank God, have gone years without such a case, but it is still important to ask).

"What do you think happened to him?" and now listen to his or her answer, very carefully.

Did his or her answer reflect arrogance?  Did it show a willingness to learn?  Was it an attempt to shut the parent down, or did it show the ability to think critically?

What is the number one trait of a good investigator?

I put this in my trainings of investigators.

People most often answer, "inquisitive nature" or "someone who listens really well", and other similar answers.

Can the investigator identify a liar?  
LSI states that the quality of a good investigator is to be able to accept an incomplete puzzle; that is, to bear up under the unknown.  It is for most of us, a position of being uncomfortable.  We like to have an answer.

The parent can ask herself questions, and in Elaine Redwine's specific case:

"Is he (she) listening to me?  
Is he intelligent? 
 Does he understand human nature? 
 Does he know anything about the dynamics of domestic violence? 
 Does he have experience with a control abuser?"
"Is he respectful?  
"Does he resort to profanity, and if so, under what context?  Anger towards my son's plight is appropriate, but is it more an issue of character, and inability to reason that causes him to sound unprofessional?"

I have had officers use their rank as bullies and I have had officers shine brightly in intellect.  They recognize the 'muscle head steroid bully' who, picked on as a child, now must 'prove' himself, bullying others (often including his wife and children) because of ignorance.  They quickly dismiss what they do not understand out of fear of being seen as less than "in control" of everything. Some are small town types, who feel a desperate need for respect and cannot learn from others, including a mother who knows more about a suspect than the investigator could learn in a lifetime.  This is the opposite of a good investigator, and why, at times, the talent can be drawn to the private sector in search of higher paychecks, including insurance and civil investigations.

Some recognize their limitations:

"Oh, yeah, I saw your analysis.  I took that training, its like nouns and verbs stuff, right?  My partner knows more about this, he's kind of a nerd, let me put you in touch with him..."  In this case, at least he recognized that someone else was needed.

Yet, the clock is ticking and family members do not have the time or patience for this.  They need answers...yesterday.

You will likely step on the toes of some, but the stakes are too high:  If a particular investigator gives you confidence, insist, as a citizen, on that investigator being assigned.

I would rather have a novice with a lively intellect and a good mind than a veteran who has the most lethal of combinations:  ignorance and arrogance.

4.  Keeping the Word Alive

When time has passed and answers not given, the citizen has no choice but to go to media for help.  No matter what you may think entertainment wise about shows like the Nancy Grace Show, if I were in the position of being a parent of a missing child, I would be grateful to have a forum like this show, or 48 hours, in which to highlight my child's plight.

Objection:  Law Enforcement asked me not to.

Answer:     It is best to follow law enforcement's advice.  Textually, we are speaking directly about cases that have gone cold, where months have passed.  Susan Cox' parents had to take to media to attempt to gain justice for their daughter.  Desiree Young and those who support her, took matters into their own hands by publicly asking, "Terri, where is Kyron?" wherever they could.

Elaine Redwine, in her courage, must continue to press Dylan's name and picture before the public, and press investigators and prosecutors for answers.  If she had self doubt about her courage, the Dr. Phil Show removed it.

Regardless of how you may feel about the show, it got the nation talking about Dylan Redwine, and this is what matters.

I know that the transcripts of the show are of value to investigators.  I also believe that Dr. Phil came close to eliciting a confession (of sorts) from Mark Redwine, and this is only based on the filming that we all saw; how much more so in private?  I don't know, but Mark Redwine's hesitation, especially at Dr. Phil's offers, showed contemplation:  Dr. Phil gave him something to think about, indicating the topic needed thought.

Elaine may not have the writing gift that Lois Duncan has, but she has shown herself to be a remarkably strong and loving mother, who must burst with pride over her son, Cory's strength.

She deserves better than this. If she cannot write, we know she can speak well and has the courage to do so.

If you have not read this, you should:

Who Killed My Daughter?


lane said...

"ask for a new patient." Should it be: ask for a new doctor?


Apple said...

A guide for parents of missing children. It is common enough to require a guide. Thank you for helping them, Peter.

Jo said...

I have read "Who Killed My Daughter" and in that case, there were psychics involved and they seemed to have information that helped the family dig deeper into things that had happened to her daughter prior to her murder. I had hoped there would be a second book that her murder was solved but that has not happened. So sad for the parents to be so close but so far away from getting justice for their daughter.

Jo said...

M: Well, there was some discussion he had with me the night before about leaving with me so I could drop him off in the Bayfield are with one of his friends that had been trying to text him (could these have been text that came in after Dylan was dead and could not respond) or that he had been communicating with. (why texting and communicating? why change in language) As he had indicated to me he had been up until 4 o'clock in the morning the night before, (did mark search his phone and find text from 4:00 the prior morning) he was tired from being in the airport most of the day in his travel from Colorado Springs to Durango. I laughed at him kind of jokingly because I know him. If he ain't got to get up, he's not likely to get up.
And he's not the type of kid who's going to get up at 6:30 if he doesn't have to.
But you know, his friends are important and I know they're important me.
So there was a possibility but it doesn't surprise me (not "didn't surprise me") he elected to not get up when I left. And when I left, he acknowledged everything I was saying to him and that I would be back. (out of order, Mark left and then Dylan acknowledged)

If Mark and Dylan had plans to drop Dylan off at 6:30 the next morning, wouldn't Mark know already at 6:30 that Dylan's friend would be expecting him. Did he call the friend to let him know that Dylan wasn't coming? He doesn't mention that he told Dylan to let his friend know he wasn't coming. When he talks about trying to reach Dylan that day, he ask if he is up, if he needs anything.........but never ask about the friend he was supposed to meet that morning or if he is with him.

Jazzie said...

"LSI states that the quality of a good investigator is to be able to accept an incomplete puzzle; that is, to bear up under the unknown. It is for most of us, a position of being uncomfortable. We like to have an answer. "

Please note:
"We have gathered so many little pieces of evidence, it’s kind of like a jigsaw puzzle and now you’re just looking for that one piece to bring everything together,” Sgt. Bender said."
(Sgt. Dan Bender - La Plata County Sheriff Office)

Jo said...

And when I left, he acknowledged everything I was saying to him and that I would be back.

"I would be back" extra information. Why would he have to tell Dylan he would be back? Not when he would be back. Obviously he would be back at some point.

Jazzie said...

Please do not disparage LE. Remember to focus on the facts. Dylan is a teenager. Listen to everyone's statements, not just Mom and Dad's. Balance what has been said. Listen to LE's and Dylan's friends' statements.

Jazzie said...


Listening said...

From Jo's post:

"But you know, his friends are important and I know they're important me."

I wonder which word(s) is missing? Is it supposed to say "they're important to me"? "they're more important than me"? "they were more important than me"?

Also, I'm confused. I've kept up as best as possible... I thought he wasn't able to wake Dylan? How did Dylan acknowledge everything he said, if he wasn't awake? Maybe I'm lost here. Was it some other time he claims he wasn't able to wake him, or am I totally lost and behind?

Listening said...

^^ I meant to add, about friends being important. Why would Dylans friends be important to MR? Does he mean his own friends are important? Who cares what MR thinks about his own friends? It's just a very odd statement to me, either way. I'm not completely sure why, I can't put my finger on it.

Anonymous said...

Please help find Ayla
Dear Peter and Kaaryn, Thank-you for your diligence and dedication to finding Dylan. Is it possible to post an address to send donations to the volunteer search-dog handler?

Sus said...

I'm so glad to see Michelle Parker's mom go after Dale Smith. It's interesting that Morgan says they have their own evidence and expect to get nothing from LE. And that "guilty parties often take the fifth." Wow! What are they up to? I wonder if Morgan's first question will be "Where is Michelle? "

Hobnob said...

M: Well, there was some discussion he had with me the night before about leaving with me so I could drop him off in the Bayfield are with one of his friends that had been trying to text him

How does he know the friends had been trying to text him?

To try something doesn't mean they were successful.

Dylan had been texting his friend and vice versa in regard to the staying with him.

Did mark see the texts from the friend regarding the arrangements and not reply?

He would only know the friend had tried to text Dylan if he were with the friend.

How do you TRY to text?

Is the texting a failure because on poor signal, low battery or something else?

Was there a text from the friend received after Dylan was dying or dead?
The text from the friend was successful, Is it Dylan's failure to reply which was the trying to text?

Lemon said...

Good point Hobs. With Mark Redwine's intimate knowledge of cell coverage, down to the square foot INSIDE his own home, it would seem a sensitive subject to him.

Why would this be so important to Mark Redwine?
Did Dylan even make it to Mark's house that night?

Mark Redwine, if you didn't "lose" Dylan, what did you do with him?

Deejay said...

I live in NM and I knew Kaitlyn was killed by an insurance scam gang- it wasn't a secret. The newspapers ran the stories at the time.

Criminals rented two cars, took out the rental car insurance and crashed them head on on rural roads- passengers then claimed expensive back and neck injuries. $$$

The trouble was she was shot at a stop light in her car- so no proof really.

Anonymous said...

Lemon: I've always wondered if News 9 Melissa B's phone ringing when it wasn't at the "end of the couch" or in Mark's bedroom wasn't really the cameraman testing out Mark's assertion phone coverage was spotty. Mark didn't even react to how weird it was that Melissa's phone was ringing when it was not in either location - locations which Mark had just explained.

Anonymous said...

From the facebook page of the dog organization that's searching for Dylan.

K-9 Forensics is non profit, dedicated to finding the lost and to give loved ones closure.
Donations accepted at
We are dedicated to giving closure to families for lost ones
Company Overview
Professional, FF,Police, K-9 Handlers Paramedics,Emts, Land Nav, Rapelling, Land and Water Cadaver Dogs
General Information
We are a small professional Team that supports itself

BostonLady said...

Dylan wanted to get to his friends and had made plans to go at 6:30am. His friend texted him after he didn't arrive and did so throughout the day.

Mark prevented Dylan from going. Mark mentioned 6:30a.m. so he knew of the plans. Dylan would have been up and ready to go as he had already expressed he didn't really want to be with his dad. (he was forced to go via court decision)

Listening said...

According to the text messages, it looks like Dylan wanted to go somewhere the night before as well, but his father said no.

I'm really confused though. Did MR talk to Dylan (supposedly) or not? I thought I saw that he said that he wasn't able to wake up Dylan, but then at another point, he said that Dylan acknowledged him that morning?

Hobnob said...

Listening said...
According to the text messages, it looks like Dylan wanted to go somewhere the night before as well, but his father said no.

I'm really confused though. Did MR talk to Dylan (supposedly) or not? I thought I saw that he said that he wasn't able to wake up Dylan, but then at another point, he said that Dylan acknowledged him that morning?

Mark may well have spoken to Dylan, what is worth noting is that after they allegedly get home, Dylan no longer speaks (active) instead mark tells us Dylan indicated or acknowledged (passive) As Kaaryn points out is this because Dylan no longer has a voice (is dead) Dead people cannot speak.

Given that we know Dylan did not want to be with his dad, that Dylan had tried to get to his friend the night he arrived which was vetoed by mark and had then arranged to be at his friend at 6:30 am the next norning even go so far as to make certain his friend would be awake to let him in and the grandmother wouldn't mind, why then would he refuse to get up the next morning?
he wanted out mark's house fast, if mark hadn't murdered him, he would have been up nice and early to make sure he was out the house and at his friends at the time arranged.

He never made it to the friend as he was murdered by mark.

Remember also mark told us he was pacing up and down ( anxiety,fear) and then he got up which is out of chronological order, he also tells us he spent almost an hour trying to wake Dylan. I would suggest this was his attempt at trying to revive Dylan (CPR) If Dylan were still alive there would no way in hell it would have taken mark almost an hour to wake him, Dylan would have been up and ready.

Cadaver dogs will indicate in the house in Dylan was murdered there given the time mark says he spent trying to wake him (depending on evironmenal conditions, cadaverine can be detected by a dog from 90 mins onwards so there would be an alert in the house, it would also be in any vehicle used to transport Dylan's remains.) I would also check the vehicles for traces of blood, I can't see mark keeping his vehicles spotless, i would also look for signs of a recent clean up

Sheridon Wells said...

MR truck was seized by police the day after Dylan went missing.....nothing has been mentioned that they ever gave his truck back???

Listening said...

Thanks Hobnob!

Jazzie said...

"The Dylan Redwine Task Force is also providing an updated timeline of Dylan's activity the day before he went missing Sunday, November 18.

5:46PM Dylan arrived at Durango-La Plata airport.
7:05 PM Dylan at Durango Walmart
7:22 PM Dylan at Durango McDonalds
9:37PM Dylan's last electronic device communication (texting)"

Please note: @9:37 Dylan's last "electronic device communication"

Was other other communication after 9:37? Phone (land line)?

Apple said...

2:44 ,
Great point about the cell phone ringing during the interview.