VALLECITO – A law-enforcement task force redirected its focus Tuesday in its search for 13-year-old Dylan Redwine, who went missing Nov. 19 from his father’s home north of Vallecito Reservoir.
Tuesday was the ninth day of intensive searching for the boy.
The task force, which includes members from the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office, Durango Police Department, FBI and Colorado Bureau of Investigation, began going door to door looking for anyone who knows or knows something about Dylan, said Durango Police Department Lt. Ray Shupe, who was helping the Sheriff’s Office with media calls from across the nation.
The Sheriff’s Office had five to seven investigators interviewing people who may be linked to the case or have information about the disappearance. Canvassing all the homes in Vallecito is expected to take several days.
Vallecito store owners and residents living next to Dylan’s father Mark Redwine were a few of those interviewed Tuesday.
In response to questions about what specific direction his investigations are taking, Bender said: “We have not closed the door on anything. We do not comment about ongoing investigations until they’re brought to a conclusion.”
Shupe said volunteer searchers can aid their cause by not visiting Vallecito for the next couple of days.
The unresolved disappearance is stressful on the community, said Denise Hess, a resident and close friend of the Redwine family who has been coordinating volunteer search efforts.
Rumors persist in the community that Dylan has been found, Hess said. One rumor was that Dylan was seen at the Bayfield skate park, another said he was seen having dinner. All are unconfirmed.
Parents are keeping their kids close in response to the teen’s disappearance by walking them to school bus stops, picking them up from school and not allowing them to go outside alone, Hess said.
“People are worried and scared because we don’t know what happened to Dylan. They’re worried about their families and what’s going on,” she said. “It’s a scary thing for this community because it’s a very small community, and this is one of our children.”
Neighbors expressed suspicion Tuesday afternoon that foul play may be involved.
“It’s quite obvious now that he has been gone for over a week that he has not run away,” said Lisa Bourque, a Vallecito resident who created a Vallecito Facebook page and has been updating it constantly with news of Redwine’s disappearance.
Hess said she and those close to the family maintain Dylan did not run away from his father’s house.
“I guess the options are that someone took him against his will or foul play somewhere,” Hess said.
Bourque had similar fears.
“We’re one way in, one way out. Nobody is going to come to Vallecito looking for a little kid. There’s not even a playground here, there aren’t even that many kids here, and he wasn’t even living here. It doesn’t make any sense,” said Bourque, who has lived in the community for nine years.
When approached at his home in Vallecito, Mark Redwine answered the door clutching a pillow. He declined to be interviewed, saying he had been “bombarded” by media requests.
He said he didn’t have a lot of support at the moment and had family coming in to help him figure out how to respond to the situation. Mark Redwine said he expected his brother to arrive Tuesday night in Vallecito.
In response to questions about Elaine Redwine’s recent comments intimating that her ex-husband might be involved in Dylan’s disappearance, Mark Redwine said, “I don’t want to lash out at my ex-wife.”
Mark Redwine reported his son missing the afternoon of Nov. 19. He told police he saw his son about 7:30 a.m. as he left to run errands. The boy was gone when he returned about 11:30 a.m., he said.
Redwine and Dylan’s mother, Elaine Redwine, divorced in 2007. She and Dylan and another son, Cory, 21, moved to Colorado Springs this summer. Dylan was on a court-ordered visit with his father over the Thanksgiving holiday. It was unclear who obtained the court order.
Elaine Redwine was director of financial aid at Fort Lewis College when she left for Colorado Springs this summer. She works in the same field now at Colorado College.
Mark Redwine worked at United Pipeline Systems in April 2010 when a kitchen fire caused heavy damage to his house.
The person who answered the telephone Tuesday at the company in Bodo Industrial Park said, “I’m not going to give out any information at this time” when asked if Redwine still is employed there.
Volunteers, up to 200 on a single day, turned up no clues in eight days of scouring the shoreline of the reservoir, nearby mountains and neighborhoods after Dylan was reported missing.
Neither did a New Mexico State Police dive team that used sonar on Vallecito Reservoir at points that cadaver dogs had indicated as hot spots.
The Dylan case is following what typically happens in the disappearance of a child, said Bob Lowery, executive director of the missing children division of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Suspending an active search for a missing child doesn’t mean it is put on the back burner, Lowery said.
“There are two components to a missing-child case – the active search and the work of investigators, which goes on out of sight and after a search ends,” Lowery said.
Community interest in a child’s disappearance tends to remain high, Lowery said. The NCMEC manipulates photos of the children to show what they would look like today to keep community members engaged, Lowery said.
The center has one of its 84 Team Adam members in La Plata County to support investigators, Lowery said. Team Adam is made up of retired law-enforcement officers with expertise in missing children.
The national center answers calls for help and offers help when it learns of a missing child, Lowery said. The organization, funded by the Department of Justice, additionally distributes photos of missing children and tracks offenders and attempted abductions. The organization opened its doors in 1984.
A Colorado Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman said historically, an estimated 12,000 to 14,000 children in Colorado go missing every year.
A 2009 report by the federal Office of the Inspector General said that a 2002 study on missing children found that 99.8 percent were located or returned home alive.