STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald
About 350 people, including more than 260 resident volunteers, participated in Saturday’s continuing search for missing 13-year-old Dylan Redwine. The organized searches focused on County Roads 240 and 501 and the areas around Lemon and Vallecito reservoirs.
“We’re looking for any evidence that might (help us) find Dylan,” said Lt. Ed Phippen, lead investigator with the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Unit. The goal is to find Dylan alive, he said.
By about noon, 10 items of interest had been identified by searchers and were being reviewed, Phippen said. None of the items was considered of “substantial value,” he said.
Saturday’s search effort was just the latest in a series of law-enforcement and resident searches for Dylan, who vanished from his father’s home in Vallecito on the morning of Nov. 19.
Dylan was on a court-ordered visit with his father, Mark Redwine, who was divorced from Dylan’s mother, Elaine, in 2007.
Dylan had flown into Durango-La Plata County Airport the evening of Nov. 18, from Colorado Springs, where he was living with his mother and older brother.
A number of Redwine family members, including Dylan’s parents; his brother, Cory; and family friends helped with Saturday’s efforts.
“We’re glad to have them out here,” Phippen said.
They were among the 300 who signed up in advance, as well as the nearly 100 or so volunteering from a variety of groups and agencies, some in support functions, Phippen said.
When Dylan was first reported missing, authorities thought “he may have walked or run away,” Phippen said. But after a few days, it was clear something was very wrong, and the investigation became more intense.
“We’re doing a lot better than in the first few days,” he said.
“We hear about these types of situations” across the country, but don’t expect it here,” Phippen said.
“We’re doing the best we can with the resources we have,” and now are prepared and capable of moving ahead with the investigation, he said. He said that, “God forbid” this happens again, local authorities will be more prepared to deal with it.
In fact, the investigation and search have blossomed, Phippen said.
“When law enforcement can only go so far, we depend on the public,” media and other organizations and individuals to help, he said.
Phippen said all of the local registered sex offenders had been checked out and had alibis for the 48-hour period from when Dylan arrived at the airport to the time he was reported missing.
Phippen wanted to reassure residents that the Sheriff’s Office “does not believe there is a sex offender abducting children” from the area.
There are 144 registered sex offenders in La Plata County, according to the Sheriff’s Office website; 56 of those are not named on the website. Two are shown with Bayfield addresses.
The searchers were divided into groups of varying numbers to search through certain sections of roads and trails. Some of the searches were expected to take about four hours, while others would last until 3 or 4 p.m., when searchers would start losing sunlight.
In addition to the searchers on foot along the paved roads or other routes, additional searchers were on horses and all-terrain vehicles, especially in the more difficult areas around Lemon and Vallecito, Phippen said.
Silviculturist (tree grower) Darren White came from Allison to help out. White was a member of a group led by Durango resident Clay Colvig, a volunteer with La Plata County Search and Rescue.
The group searched along County Road 240 for about two miles, eventually meeting up with another group that had started four miles away moving toward Colvig’s group.
Another volunteer, Connie Allen of Vallecito, said she came to help because “we know the snow’s coming, and we want to do everything we can to help find Dylan.”
“I’m really impressed with the (volunteer) turnout,” said Colvig, director of Colvig Silver Camps.
Another member of Colvig’s group, Gail Caponi, came from Gallup, N.M., to help. Caponi had planned some activities in Durango and decided that if Dylan was her child, she would want other people to help, so that’s what she did.
Phippen said the search organization began Wednesday. That includes The Edgemont Highlands-Edgemont Ranch management, which provided the Edgemont picnic area off County Road 240 for the search staging area.
Among the organizations that added their support for Saturday’s search were Sheriff’s Office officers and mounted patrol, La Plata County Office of Emergency Management, La Plata County Search and Rescue, County Manager Joe Kerby and other county departments, Durango Fire & Rescue Authority, Durango Police Department, the FBI, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado State Patrol, Durango Transit, Bayfield School District, the Southwest Colorado Chapter of the American Red Cross and others, Phippen said.
In addition to advising on the investigation, Phippen said the FBI provided two victim specialists to help the family cope with the situation.