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Dylan Redwine’s friends testify on second day of jury trial

Friends describe boy’s habit of quickly responding to texts, and alarm when he stopped communicating
Ryan Nava, who was a friend of Dylan Redwine, testified Tuesday during the trial of Mark Redwine at the La Plata County Courthouse in Durango. Redwine is on trial for second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death of his son, Dylan Redwine, during a court-ordered Thanksgiving holiday visit in 2012. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Several of Dylan Redwine’s friends testified Tuesday about his habit of quickly returning text messages, and their puzzlement that grew to concern and eventually to alarm after he suddenly stopped communicating the night on Nov. 18, 2012.

The testimony came during the second day of the trial of Dylan’s father, Mark Redwine, who is charged with second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in Dylan’s death while the boy was on a court-ordered 2012 Thanksgiving holiday visit to his father in Vallecito.

Ryan Nava, now 22, and one of Dylan’s best friends in the Vallecito area, said Dylan initially wanted to stay overnight at his grandmother’s house the night of the Nov. 18, the first night he arrived in Vallecito. Instead, when his father rejected the overnight stay, he planned to be at Nava’s grandmother’s house at 6:30 a.m. Nov. 19.

Nava directed Dylan to come to the house through a sliding door that led to the room where he was sleeping, and Nava set his alarm to 6:30 a.m. – expecting to see Dylan when he awoke.

The next morning, Nava went outside to look for Dylan, and when he didn’t find him he texted him “where are you” expecting an immediate reply. He never got a return text.

Nava followed up with further futile texts. He wanted to let Dylan know he would be at the home of another of their friends, Fernando Stubbs, during the day so he could join them later to “hangout.”

But again, he heard no reply.

Later, after Mark Redwine stopped by the Stubbs’ house in search of Dylan, Nava said he grew increasingly concerned.

“Dude, your dad’s looking for you,” he texted Dylan.

When Dylan’s mother, Elaine Hall, called Nava to see if Dylan had been with him, Nava said he grew further alarmed.

His last futile text to Dylan, “Dude, you need to call someone as soon as possible. We’re all worried about you.”

Nava’s testimony was followed by three more childhood friends who gave varying descriptions of their 13-year-old friend: “happy,” “funny,” “outgoing,” “a prankster.”

Hall, the boy’s mother, has sat in the courtroom gallery for both days of the trial, surrounded by a half dozen or so friends.

Television coverage of the trial has been light, a vast difference compared with the reporting about Dylan’s death.

The boy’s disappearance and subsequent discovery of his death was the focus of national attention.

Hall and Mark Redwine appeared on an episode of “Dr. Phil,” a top daytime talk show hosted by Phil McGraw. And former prosecutor and television legal analyst Nance Grace featured the case on multiple episodes.

Mark Redwine listens as a witness testifies during his trial on Tuesday. Redwine is on trial for second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in the death of his son, Dylan. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Nava downplayed reports that Dylan liked to hitchhike – saying the only time he knew of Dylan hitchhiking was during a cold snowy day when Dylan, Nava and another friend were caught walking wearing only light clothing.

“It started almost as a joke,” he said.

But the cold, wet boys managed to get a short ride to their friend’s house. “We were surprised it worked,” Nava said of their hitchhiking effort.

Under questioning from Justin Bogan, one of Redwine’s defense attorneys, Nava testified that his impression was that Dylan and his father were “best friends.”

Nava also said during a sleepover with Dylan at Redwine’s house in late summer or early fall 2012, he got the impression Dylan was excited to go on a cross country trip with his dad to watch Major League Baseball games.

“He was a sports guy,” Nava said. “He was going to see baseball. He wanted to see some stadiums, some games, the spectacle of professional sports.”

But Joseph Ceballos, 21, a friend of Dylan’s from Colorado Springs, said Dylan never mentioned his father and was leery of going to Durango.

“He absolutely didn’t want to visit his father,” Ceballos said.

Amanda Saxton, who was a friend of Dylan Redwine, testifies Tuesday during the trial of Mark Redwine. Redwine is on trial for second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in the death of his son, Dylan. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Amanda Saxton, 22, another of Dylan’s Durango-area friends, whom Dylan called “Sissy,” said Dylan would normally return texts instantaneously, and if not immediately, texts were almost always returned within 30 minutes.

Dylan and Saxton had plans to meet the day after Thanksgiving in the Durango Community Recreation Center, another plan for Dylan’s visit that never came to fruition.

Cristen Baird, who was a Colordo Springs friend of Dylan Redwine’s, testifies Tuesday during the trial for Mark Redwine, who is suspected of second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in the death of Dylan. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Watch live

The Mark Redwine trial can be viewed live online by visiting the Colorado Judicial Branch homepage at www.courts.state.co.us, going to “Find a Court,” selecting “La Plata,” and joining WebEx for the appropriate date.

Cristen Baird, who lived across the street from Dylan when he moved with his mom to Colorado Springs, testified that Dylan and she were discussing if they should still consider each other a couple and stay together, because Dylan was planning to move again to go Monument.

Like others, she said Dylan’s habit was to return text messages virtually instantly.

Baird took several photos of Dylan with his Colorado Springs friends Adam Harvey and Joseph Ceballos within days of his departure for Durango.

The photos were placed in evidence by Michael Dougherty, special district attorney. Baird testified that they showed Dylan did not have a sore on his lip or other cuts that might have explained the blood found in the living room of Redwine’s Vallecito home.

Harvey said his impression was that Dylan was not excited to see his father during the visit, but wanted to see his old friends.

Harvey under cross examination from John Moran, Redwine’s attorney, said Dylan was a gifted athlete who wouldn’t hesitate to dive for a catch in touch football games the boys played in the street.

In opening statements, the defense noted the blood found in Redwine’s living room was a small amount, an amount that could be explained by skinned knees or a sore on the mouth.

In other testimony Tuesday, jurors watched videos from the Durango-La Plata County Airport and the Durango Walmart that showed Dylan and Mark Redwine upon his arrival and in a subsequent trip to the store.

parmijo@durangoherald.com

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