Mark Redwine appeared uninterested in the search for his missing son after 13-year-old Dylan Redwine disappeared in November 2012, witnesses testified Monday during the second week of the father’s murder trial.
Redwine, 59, is standing trial on charges of second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in Dylan’s death. The boy was reported missing on Nov. 19, 2012, at the start of a court-ordered visit to his father’s home in Vallecito for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Redwine told investigators that he woke up that morning, saw Dylan asleep, ran errands and returned to find Dylan gone. Prosecutors argued Redwine killed Dylan on the night of Nov. 18, 2012, during a confrontation about photos that depict Redwine eating feces from a diaper.
When Redwine first approached law enforcement about Dylan’s disappearance on the afternoon of Nov. 19, 2012, he declined to make a formal police report, testified Sgt. Daniel Abdella with the Bayfield Marshal’s Office. A search was launched later that evening after Redwine’s ex-wife called and made the formal report.
When searchers arrived at Redwine’s home that night, he appeared “laid back” and “nonchalant,” retired Upper Pine River Fire Protection District Deputy Chief Roy Vreeland testified. That struck Vreeland as odd, he testified, because most parents of missing children are frantic.
“From my personal experience in the same situation many times with family members, the parents, they never want to leave our side,” Vreeland testified. “They can be — I don’t want to say annoying, because I respect what they are going through, but they can get in the way… They’re constantly wanting to know what we found, if we found anything, why we’re not trying hard, why we didn’t stay all night.”
Redwine did not behave that way, Vreeland testified. Instead, the father stayed in his home during the initial search, and turned out all the lights in his house around 11 p.m. The search crews kept working until about 1 a.m. that night.
Vreeland testified that Redwine’s home was full of empty liquor bottles, and a coworker who saw Redwine on the morning of Nov. 19, 2012, testified that Redwine looked “haggard” and “very tired.” The coworker previously told investigators Redwine looked as though he’d been “on an all-night bender,” testimony revealed.
Redwine’s defense team questioned the witnesses about what they remembered and when, and whether their recollections were tainted by the publicity around the case and the suspicions of Redwine. The coworker who described Redwine as haggard on Monday told investigators in 2012 only that Redwine looked “pale and tired,” cross-examination revealed, and notes from a 2012 conversation with the FBI say he noticed nothing out of the ordinary about Redwine that day.
Redwine’s public defenders also suggested that Redwine had been asked to keep his distance from the search in order to let the crews work unimpeded.
Vreeland worked with a dog to try to track Dylan’s scent in the hours after Dylan was reported missing. He worked from a pillowcase that Redwine said Dylan had slept on, and initially tracked a scent about 100 yards down the road in front of Redwine’s home before losing it.
Vreeland later came to doubt whether Dylan’s scent was on that pillowcase at all, in part because the dog struggled to pick up any trails. He used the pillowcase for Dylan’s scent only after Redwine said none of Dylan’s belongings — like his backpack, clothes, phone or phone charger — were in the house.
He said Redwine answered quickly and seemed prepared for the question.
“It almost appeared he knew there was nothing in the house before I asked the question,” Vreeland testified.
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