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Investigators detail finding first remains of Dylan Redwine

Discovery of clothing, bones and personal effects buoyed investigation
Dan Patterson, a former La Plata County Sheriff's Office investigator, looks at a sneaker that belonged to Dylan Redwine that was recovered during a search on Middle Mountain. He testified Tuesday during the trial for Mark Redwine, who is charged with second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in the death of his son, Dylan Redwine. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

In the months after Dylan Redwine’s disappearance, investigators searched dozens of times for the boy’s remains in the rugged backcountry northeast of Vallecito Reservoir. It wasn’t until seven months later, on June 22, 2013, that they got lucky.

A Nike Jordan shoe, youth size 7, was found just north of a service gate that blocks Middle Mountain Road, a high-alpine, dirt road. The shoe and other items found nearby were taken as evidence by Dan Patterson, a now-retired sergeant and investigator with the La Plata County Sheriff's Office.

“It was fairly steep and rugged,” he said. “... A shred of underwear, earbuds and scraps of clothes were found at the site that looked like it was a dumpsite for the body.”

The shoe was shown to Elaine Hall, the boy’s mother, who confirmed it belonged to Dylan.

A hand-drawn map that shows where items belonging to Dylan Redwine were found on Middle Mountain. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Hall and Dylan’s older brother, Cory Redwine, were in shock, but they were also happy to have some answers, said Tonya Golbricht, a supporting investigator with the Sheriff’s Office, who took the witness stand Tuesday.

“We felt like maybe we were in the right spot,” Golbricht said of the discovery.

Bones were later found in the general vicinity by a cadaver dog, Patterson said.

The testimony came on the seventh day of a jury trial for Mark Redwine, who is charged with second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in the death of his son, Dylan, 13. Redwine has pleaded not guilty.

Joe Gabbard, an investigator with the Sheriff's Office, testified that he participated in multiple searches on the ground and coordinated helicopter searches from 2012 to 2014. In June 2013, Gabbard reported finding what could be a finger or a toe bone in animal feces in the same area where Dylan’s remains were found. Gabbard also discovered a piece of shoelace in May 2014.

A chance encounter

Several witnesses have testified that Mark Redwine seemed unusually calm and apathetic about the search for his son.

Mike Hall, Elaine Hall’s husband, hired a sonar team to search the depths of Vallecito Reservoir and coordinated retrieving items from Dylan’s home on the Front Range so that police would have items for DNA testing and canine searches.

Redwine, however, participated in only one search for his son, and otherwise was largely inactive, Mike Hall testified.

Mark Redwine takes notes as Dan Patterson, a former La Plata County Sheriff's Office investigator, testifies Tuedsay during Redwine’s jury trial. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

And the father displayed other odd behavior, he said.

Hall recalled driving up Middle Mountain Road on April 23, 2013, before a search began at Vallecito Lake. He pulled over to relieve himself – “I drank a lot of coffee that morning,” he said – and saw Redwine coming down the mountain in a white Dodge pickup truck. Redwine didn’t acknowledge Hall, even though Hall was in plain sight, he said.

Hall got back in his vehicle and caught up with Redwine to see where he was going.

“It appeared to me that he was trying to put a great deal of distance between him and I,” Hall said.

Redwine apparently didn’t go home, and he also didn’t show up at a search later that day, Hall said. When asked if he thought that was suspicious, Hall responded, “Yes.”

Hall said he developed a close relationship with Dylan, becoming a father figure in the boy’s life. He met Dylan and Cory in October 2009 as the divorce between Elaine and Mark was finalized.

Hall described Dylan as “just a great kid to be around. Seemed to be very happy and very involved with his friends. Great with his brother, great with other kids.”

The trial resumes Wednesday with Golbricht on the witness stand.

Kaela Roeder is an intern for The Durango Herald and The Journal in Cortez and a 2021 graduate of American University in Washington, D.C.