VALLECITO – The frustration of a mother increased Monday – the eighth day searchers failed to turn up a trace of her missing 13-year-old son.
“I’m running out of prayers,” Elaine Redwine said as she watched a law-enforcement boat equipped with sonar trace patterns on the reservoir near the dam. “The longer this goes on, the more helpless we feel.”
Dylan Redwine was last seen at 7:30 a.m. Nov. 19 by his father, Mark Redwine, but was gone when the father returned home north of the reservoir four hours later after running errands.
The parents divorced in 2007, and Elaine Redwine, Dylan and his brother, Cory, 21, moved to Colorado Springs this summer.
Dylan’s visit over the Thanksgiving break was court-ordered.
In an interview with ABC News Radio late Monday, Elaine Redwine said she’s afraid her ex-husband may have had something to do with their son’s disappearance.
“I was married to Mark for a lot of years, and I know the way he reacts to things,” she told ABC. “If Dylan did or said something that wasn’t what Mark wanted to hear, I’m just afraid Mark would have reacted.”
Elaine Redwine also said her former husband was upset that she had received primary custody of Dylan.
“I don’t think Mark treats him very well,” she said. “I would not put it past Mark to have done something to remove Dylan from the situation. You know, like ‘If I can’t have him, nobody will.’”
Dylan’s case has gotten national and international attention. La Plata County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Dan Bender hasn’t had time to count media contacts. But he remembers talking to “Good Morning America,” someone from Washington, D.C., and, of course, media from throughout Colorado.
Elaine Redwine said the family has received Facebook posts from Australia wishing them a happy outcome.
Her hopes for definite news were dashed Monday when three sonar-outfitted boats turned up nothing unusual at three points marked with buoys that cadaver dogs on Saturday indicated were points of interest.
Two cadaver dogs, independently of each other, signaled the same locations, Bender said.
The sheriff’s office has had five to seven investigators on the case. They don’t want to overlook any potential lead, Bender said.
Denise Hess, a close friend of Elaine Redwine, immediately organized a methodical search that took volunteers through hills and valleys, empty outbuildings and door-to-door in search of clues.
On Sunday, a dive team from New Mexico State Police searched near the sites nosed out by the cadaver dogs the day before. The dogs belong to La Plata County Search and Rescue.
Contacted Monday at his home, Mark Redwine declined to discuss the search for Dylan.
“I know they’re looking for my son, but I’d prefer not to say anything,” Redwine said at the door of his house. “I prefer to let the investigators do their work.”
Hess said there were no search teams or door-to-door handout of fliers Monday. She said probably 300 to 400 people, including Dylan’s classmates from when he went to school in Bayfield, have helped. Volunteers hail from Farmington, Durango, Cortez, Mancos and Pagosa Springs as well as Bayfield and Vallecito, she said.
Bender said the sonar boats make runs parallel to the dam and then perpendicular to the structure in order to leave no area unscrutinized. One sonar boat belongs to the New Mexico State Police, another is the personal boat of La Plata County Sheriff’s Deputy Jerry Little.
Sonar impulses home in on objects that don’t match the size or shape of what is normally found on the bottom of a body of water.
Divers have to be used judiciously, Bender said. The elevation of Vallecito, 7,700 feet, the 38 degree water and its depth, 40 feet, allow them to search safely for only 20 to 30 minutes.
Then, divers must wait eight hours before working again, Bender said. “Divers can’t take a break to have a Coke, then go back down,” he said.
Sheriff’s investigators are working with the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Dylan’s disappearance hasn’t been placed on the Department of Justice’s Amber Alert program for missing children. Inclusion for Amber Alert requires a confirmed abduction, imminent danger of injury or death to the victim and the opinion of authorities that designation will help resolve the case.
Bender said investigators are treating the case as they would any similar disappearance. The child can be a runaway or victim of an abduction, he said.
“Absent any clues, we owe it to Dylan to consider all possibilities,” Bender said. “We will continue to do so.”
None of Dylan’s belongings that could carry his scent was available in the first days of the investigation. But the family had articles of the boy’s clothing delivered on the weekend.
“We have the clothes,” Bender said Monday. “We don’t need them here (at the reservoir), but can use them later.”
Elaine Redwine doesn’t believe her son is a runaway because it wasn’t his nature and because he was happy at his new school in Colorado Springs where he entered eighth grade this fall.
“It’s no comfort that they didn’t find anything in the water today,” she said Monday. “But just looking for your little boy in a lake is horrific.”
Bender said no search is planned for today, but searches will resume if new clues or leads develop.