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?
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?
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?|
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?