NOT CHILD’S PLAY
Son Murdered for Taunting Diaper-Wearing Dad, Prosecutors Say
Despite an ocean of evidence and an apparent motive, it took years to arrest Dylan Redwine’s alleged killer: his father.
DENVER, Colorado — Before Dylan Redwine went missing in 2012, prosecutors say the 13-year-old boy found “compromising pictures” of his father.
Cory Redwine, Dylan’s older brother, said Monday that he has seen the photos. He told ABC affiliate KMGH they “show him wearing women’s clothes and makeup and a diaper and then eating his feces from the diaper. It was disgusting. We couldn’t believe it.”
Redwine’s mother, Elaine Hall added that she believes Dylan, 13, confronted Redwine about the photos and was murdered for it.
“He may have said something that just didn’t set well with Mark and Mark reacted in a very violent way… obviously. Dylan is no longer here,” Hall said on a February 2015 podcast.
Nearly five years passed from the time Dylan vanished until Redwine was charged with second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death. Redwine was arrested Friday in Bellingham, Washington while working at his job as a long-haul trucker.
There was no new evidence, but there was a new effort to solve the case.
A team of investigators and prosecutors from around Colorado decided Redwine’s death could be solved by reconsidering old evidence from a fresh perspective. That experienced team made many trips to meet with law enforcement in Durango, near where Redwine lived, to uncover new angles.
“Have you thought about this witness? Have you compiled all of the interviews? When were those statements made and do they help fit the pieces of the puzzle together?” explains veteran Denver prosecutor Ryan Brackley, a member of the cold case team. Brackley says the cold case unit is unusual in that district attorneys don’t often invite help from other jurisdictions. “In Colorado, prosecutors put their egos aside and work together for the good of doing justice.”
The cold case team convinced prosecutor Christian Champagne, sworn in this past January, to call a grand jury to investigate. There was so much evidence it took investigators less than three days to indict.
At a press conference Tuesday afternon, Champagne saidit’s time to bring justice in the case “…and end this terrible nightmare.”
Blood consistent with Dylan’s was found in Redwine’s home on the couch, under the rug, and the corner of a coffee table. DNA matching Dylan’s was found on the loveseat. A police dog detected a cadaver scent in the living room, in Redwine’s truck, on the clothes Redwine wore when Dylan went missing, and in the washing machine.
Dylan was caught in the middle of an ugly custody brawl before he vanished. Hall says Redwine was not only fighting her for Dylan and his brother, Cory: he wanted half of everything else—including one of each of her pairs of shoes. Hall says Dylan did not want to live with his father. When Thanksgiving came around, she says there was nothing Dylan wanted to do less than travel to his dad’s isolated mountain cabin near Durango, Colorado to spend time with him.
On November 18, 2012, per court order, Redwine picked Dylan up from the airport, took him to Walmart and then got food at McDonald’s. Surveillance video showed that the two were not communicating, according to the affidavit. The last known images of Dylan Redwine are of a slouching young teenager in a baseball cap with his hands in his pockets.
Elaine texted Dylan at 7:03 p.m.: “UR dad get u son?”
“Yes,” Dylan’s phone replied.
At approximately 9:30 p.m., Dylan’s phone texted a friend to meet him at 6:30 a.m. the following day.
The next morning, Dylan never showed up and a text, “Where are you?” wasn’t answered.
By this time Dylan was already dead, police believe.
Redwine says that this is not true and that at 7:30 am, Dylan was alive and so sound asleep on the sofa, he couldn’t wake him up even when he gave him a good shake. That’s when Redwine claims he left to run errands. When Redwine said he returned four hours later, Dylan was gone.
Though Redwine has long been considered a “person of interest” the investigation had gone cold after countless community and law enforcement searches through the San Juan National Forest turned up nothing. Police got a break when, a year and a half after Dylan went missing, the boy’s remains were found scattered just off a twisty mountain road just eight miles from his father’s home in an area called Middle Mountain. Most everything was there except for his skull.
Redwine allegedly had a strange conversation about the missing skull with Dylan’s half-brother after the first remains were found, According to the indictment.
“He mentioned blunt force trauma several times and discussed how investigators would have to find the rest of the body, including the skull, before they could determine if this was the cause of death,” according to the affidavit.
Redwine was right: in November 2015 Dylan’s skull was discovered by hikers further up on Middle Mount Road about a mile and a half from where the original remains were found. The skull showed evidence of a blow to the head, the affidavit says. There were also “two small markings consistent with tool marks from a knife, not caused by animal or natural cause.”
Relatives recalled other disturbing conversations they had with Mark Redwine. Ex-wife Betsy Horvath told investigators that Redwine said if he ever had to hide a body, he’d put it in the mountains.
There are other bizarre sidebars to the disturbing case. Just three months after Dylan went missing, Mark Redwine, Elaine Hall and his brother Cory, appeared on Dr. Phil airing out their grief and suspicions in a two-part episode.
It was the first time the two of them had communicated outside of text messaging since Dylan’s disappearance.
“I’ve had suspicions that Elaine could be involved in this,” Mark Redwine said to the national TV audience. “You had him. Where is he?,” Elaine countered, sitting across from him, sobbing. “I really have a concern that you hurt him and his bones are out there just laying and you don’t even care.”
As for the embarrassing photos, Redwine claims his ex-wife made that story up to embarrass him.
Despite the evidence, a Denver criminal defense attorney predicts the case will be hard to prove.
“In terms of evidence directly linking the father to his death it’s circumstantial,” said Karen Steinhauser. While sheacknowledges the marks to Dylan’s skull are proof that he was bludgeoned, she points out there’s no murder weapon and it’s impossible to know who hit him.
“As for the blood in the house,” Steinhauser said, “he could have hit his head. He stayed there when he visited his dad.”
Except Redwine himself stated that his son hadn’t suffered any injuries in the home since it went through a major remodel eight months before Dylan disappeared.
Through the years, Mark Redwine has denied any involvement in his son’s death. He even suggested that Dylan may have been kidnapped or killed by someone else. Someone reported a mysterious white van in the area of Redwine’s home when Dylan went missing.
Just last month he criticized the La Plata County Sheriff’s office for ignoring him and the case, and announced plans for a seven-day search for Dylan. “I’m not a murderer,” he told the Durango Herald, “just a father trying to find answers and bring my son home.”
Redwine was not planning on joining the search because he felt the police would turn anything he found against him. Elaine Hall contends that he rarely took part in searches, and this is further proof that he is guilty; however, Karen Steinhauser says behavior is circumstantial. “There’s no smoking gun. The grand jury found probable cause, but that’s a far cry from reasonable doubt.”
Dylan’s mother has returned to the Durango area to be close to the current investigation. She is adamant in her belief that her ex dismembered Dylan that Sunday-Monday before Thanksgiving over 4 years ago. “When Dylan went missing, I knew Mark had something to do with it,” said Hall, who has kept the case in the spotlight when it started to wane.
Last year, Hall advocated for a bill in the Colorado State Legislature which would make it a felony to tamper with a body.
Once a critic of a stalled investigation, she now credits fresh leadership in La Plata County, including a new sheriff and District Attorney Christian Champagne, as the reason the case was moved from the back-burner now possibly headed for trial.
Redwine remains in a Washington jail on $1 million bond. It’s not clear when he’ll return to Colorado to face trial. A second hearing is set for mid-August in Washington.