The La Plata County Sheriff's Office said Thursday it has identified remains of the body of Dylan Redwine, the 13-year-old boy who went missing in November north of Vallecito Reservoir.
The sheriff's office received confirmation Thursday from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, which performed forensic testing.
The bones were found during a five-day search that was conducted Saturday through Wednesday. Law-enforcement officials combed a 12-mile stretch of Middle Mountain Road looking for clues about Dylan's disappearance.
“During the search of Middle Mountain we found a variety of items, including bones, and those were sent to CBI, and they confirmed they were human remains,” said Dan Bender, spokesman with the sheriff's office. “DNA testing confirmed they were Dylan.”
Middle Mountain is north of Vallecito Reservoir. The search area ranges from 8,000 to 11,000 feet in elevation and consists of deep canyons and dense forest. Searchers found “articles” they thought might be linked to the case Sunday. At first they were uncertain if they found human or animal remains, Bender said. They spent four more days combing the area to be sure they retrieved all possible pieces of evidence.
Family members met with investigators Thursday and were told of the development in the case, Bender said. Efforts to reach the boy's mother, Elaine Redwine, and father, Mark Redwine, for comment were unsuccessful.
Dylan's brother, Cory Redwine, said the discovery is “bittersweet.”
“It's sad to finally learn that he's no longer with us,” he said Thursday during an interview in Bayfield.
Dylan was reported missing Nov. 19, 2012, by his mother, who lives in the Colorado Springs area. He was staying with his father, who lives about three miles north of Vallecito Reservoir, as part of a court-ordered visitation during the Thanksgiving holiday.
The case has drawn national attention, including a Feb. 26-27 appearance on the “Dr. Phil” television show. During the show, Elaine Redwine and Mark Redwine engaged in a heated confrontation, with each accusing the other of responsibility for their son's disappearance. The two-part episode ended with Mark Redwine refusing to take a polygraph test.
Authorities declined Thursday to say whether there appears to be foul play.
“We're pursuing it as a criminal investigation and have since almost day one,” Bender said.
No arrests have been made, he said.
A Durango Herald photographer saw someone drive by Mark Redwine's home Thursday, turn around and yell “murderer” before driving away.
Authorities have not named Mark Redwine as a suspect.
“We have not labeled anyone as a suspect,” Bender said.
A reward for information leading to the finding of Dylan had reached $50,500. It is unlikely the reward will be given to anyone because no one provided information that led investigators to his location, Bender said.
“This was Sheriff's Office initiated, not on a tip or new information,” he said.
Human remains and other items were found during the course of the five-day search in different locations, Bender said. He declined to specify what other items were found or over how large an area the remains were scattered.
“Because it's an ongoing investigation, we're not releasing a description of what we found, as far as specific items,” he said.
The remains were found in a drainage about 8 to 10 miles from the father's house, through the rural road system, Bender said. It is closer by a straight line.
Bender declined to be specific about exactly where the remains were found.
“It was roughly halfway up Middle Mountain Road,” he said.
Middle Mountain is a Forest Service road that begins from the northeast side of Vallecito Reservoir.
Since Dylan's disappearance, investigators have had two missions – to find the boy and to determine who might be involved in his disappearance, Bender said.
“We have accomplished one of those missions in finding Dylan,” he said. “We'll continue to pursue who was involved with Dylan's death.”
Since November, investigators have searched Vallecito Reservoir and its 12-mile shoreline at least 15 times with search dogs, divers, boats equipped with sonar, helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.
They have amassed hundreds of tips from across the country and around the world, including from psychics and someone in Australia who reported seeing Dylan in a restaurant.
Redwine arrived Nov. 18 in Durango as part of a court-ordered visit to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with his father. A surveillance camera captured his image at 5:46 p.m. at the Durango-La Plata County Airport. Another surveillance camera captured his image at 7:05 p.m. at Walmart in Durango.
Other details of the timeline include:
7:22 p.m. – He and his father went to McDonald's in Durango.
9:37 p.m. – Dylan sent his last text message to a friend, saying he planned to meet up with him early the next morning.
He was not heard from since.
Mark Redwine said he saw Dylan early Nov. 19 at his house north of the reservoir. The father said he ran errands in Durango, and when he returned four hours later, the boy was gone.
firstname.lastname@example.org. Herald Staff Writer Jordyn Dahl contributed to this report.