DURANGO, Colo. - Authorities are warning of a Facebook ransom scam trying get people to pay money for the release of Dylan Redwine, a 13-year-old who vanished in southwest Colorado last month.
The La Plata County Sheriff's Office is telling the public to not fall for the scam run by someone claiming to be "Abass Gadafi," a new resident of the Bayfield area.
The scammer, who sends messages to people's Facebook pages, claims to be the "boss of a kidnapper gang" who is holding Dylan Redwine captive and wants $1,000 to release a photo of Dylan and demands another $4,000 for the teen's release. The scammer tells people to wire the money via Western Union to an address in the United Kingdom, sheriff's officials said.
"This is a scam," Sheriff's Capt. Jim Ezzell said Monday. "Do not send any money." Anyone who has been contacted by the scammer is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 970-385-2900.
The Sheriff's Office, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have formed a task force that officials say is conducting a criminal investigation into the teen's Nov. 19 disappearance from his father's Vallecito home near Durango.
Investigators say Dylan did not run away, but they have not shared details on how they reached that conclusion.
The task force has mobilized wide-ranging land, air and water searches for the missing boy involving hundreds of volunteers.
On Saturday, about 300 people searched 60 miles along roadways between Durango and Vallecito for clues in the boy's disappearance.
Out of dozens of items flagged by searchers, about 10 are being evaluated for their value in the investigation, Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Dan Bender said.
Dozens of investigators on the Dylan Redwine Task Force continue to follow up on aspects of the ongoing investigation in Dylan’s disappearance, Bender said. The volume of tips received on the tip-line is keeping several investigators, both locally and out of the area, busy. Tips have come in from across the United States and include information about theories, items, locations and persons.
Citizens who have information that may aid in the search for Dylan are asked to leave a voicemail message on the Dylan Redwine Tip Line at 970-382-7511. If a citizen wants a return call from law enforcement, they must leave their contact information, but anonymous tips are also acceptable. The recorded tip line is not a manned telephone number and it is not a way to get information about the search.