Facts continued to take a backseat to rumor and innuendo as the second and final segment of Dr. Phil McGraw's interview with Elaine and Mark Redwine, parents of missing 14-year-old Dylan Redwine, aired Wednesday.
The first segment, which was broadcast Tuesday, resembled an embittered amateur boxing match, with Elaine and Mark Redwine, who are divorced, repeatedly accusing each other of foul play.
Dylan was reported missing by his father on Nov. 19, 2012, less than a day after the teen arrived in La Plata County for a court-ordered visitation during the Thanksgiving break.
In the interview's second segment, a former girlfriend of Mark Redwine was brought out to defend his character and parenting, while both his ex-wives and an older son with Elaine, Cory Redwine, stopped just short of accusing him of murder.
At one point, Dr. Phil made this offer to Mark: “If you have your son stashed somewhere, or if, God forbid, you flew into a rage and you hurt him accidentally and he's dead, if something has happened, I will help you deal with it now, and we will go recover that young man right now. … But my offer has a shelf life.”
“Just know that I offered,” said Dr. Phil.
“I'm not involved in this no matter how I come across. I'm not involved,” said Mark Redwine, before crying while he spoke of how his son Cory had said he hated him.
Dr. Phil replied, “If you're not involved in this, then there is something seriously wrong with you because your reaction to this ... something's seriously wrong with you.”
Mark protested that he was feeling attacked.
Dr. Phil's insinuation that Mark Redwine was involved in his son's disappearance or death went from bold to brazen after Dylan's father reneged on his agreement to take a polygraph test administered by one of Dr. Phil's polygraphers.
Mark Redwine already underwent a polygraph administered by local authorities, who have declined to comment on the results.
Though Dr. Phil described his polygraphers as the “best in the world,” Sheriff's Office spokesman Dan Bender said the officials who administer polygraph tests for the county were certified, trained and experienced.
The show concluded with Dr. Phil saying that while – in the totality of his polygrapher's professional experience – he had never encountered a father of a missing child who refused to take a polygraph test, he had no “proof or evidence” of Mark Redwine's guilt.
Bender said he hoped the Redwines' appearance on “Dr. Phil” would continue to generate more tips about Dylan's possible whereabouts. Bender had said before the Redwines' interview with Dr. Phil was confirmed, tips had dwindled to just two a day, whereas since then, the hotline has been receiving about a hundred a day. Investigators see media exposure as their best shot at cracking the case, which – despite multiple searches of the area, the efforts of various law-enforcement agencies and a $50,000 reward – has grown increasingly cold.
Despite the flood of tips, Bender said misinformation about the case abounds, its circulation quickened by social media.
On Wednesday, Bender said several TV stations had called the Sheriff's Office about a rumor that Dylan's body had been found.
The rumor originated on the “Find Missing Dylan Redwine” Facebook page, with a posting that said cadaver dogs hired by the Redwines “obviously think there is a cadaver in the lake.”
Bender said the dogs had been wrong before, and Dylan remained officially at large.
Bender said law enforcement would watch Dr. Phil's interviews with the Redwines.
“Whatever information we might be able to glean from the show would be part of our criminal investigation and is not something we can comment on,” he said.
But Bender said it was unlikely that Dr. Phil would solve the case, saying he lacked training as a criminal investigator.
“And we've been involved for three months now, and I don't think Dr. Phil has been involved that long,”
“Dr. Phil” is the highest rated show on daytime television.