DENVER – Nearly nine years since Dylan Redwine disappeared from his father’s home near Vallecito Lake in southwestern Colorado, a jury is deciding whether his father, Mark Redwine, killed the boy after several weeks of trial arguments.
The jury got the case Thursday afternoon following closing arguments from Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty, who was brought in to prosecute the case, and Mark Redwine’s defense counsel Thursday.
Mark Redwine, 59, faces charges of second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in the death of Dylan, who was 13 when he disappeared in November 2012. His remains were found 10 miles from his father’s home in June 2013, according to an indictment, and his skull was found more than two years later in November 2015 about a mile and a half away from the first location. Mark Redwine was arrested in 2017 in connection with the case, and the trial has been delayed numerous times in the years since.
Dougherty acknowledged that much of the evidence of the case was circumstantial in his closing arguments but walked the jury back through the evidence presented throughout the weekslong trial, arguing that Dylan and his father’s relationship was already frayed when Dylan flew to Durango for a mandatory visit and that Mark Redwine killed his son in a fit of rage during an argument just hours after Dylan arrived.
“The defendant killed his son because of a damaged relationship that turned deadly on Nov. 18, 2012,” Dougherty said. “Who’s the last person seen with Dylan? Who was with him when he was never heard from again? The answer to both questions is the defendant.”
Dougherty claimed Mark Redwine was the only person who had an opportunity and reason to hurt Dylan, reiterated evidence presented in court that Dylan’s blood was found inside his home, that cadaver dogs hit on scents of human remains inside Mark Redwine’s home, truck and on his clothes, and said that Mark was suspicious and evasive in the weeks, months and years that followed his son’s disappearance.
Dougherty said Mark Redwine killed his son and dismembered him, scattering his skull in a different location up Middle Mountain Road because it showed evidence of blunt force and sharp force injuries that the prosecution says was inflicted by Mark, causing his son’s death.
He said that Mark discarded photos of his son and withdrew money from a bank account before Dylan’s remains were found and said the defense’s arguments that Dylan was killed by an animal while walking to meet a friend could not be true based on testimony from animal experts.
Dougherty also worked to refute the defense’s argument that Dylan may have been alive the morning after he was last seen alive.
“If Dylan were alive the morning of Nov. 19, he’d be communicating and responding to friends and his mom. But he’s gone completely dark,” he said.
Dougherty said that he believed the deteriorating relationship and pictures shown in court of Mark Redwine allegedly eating feces and wearing women’s lingerie that Dylan is suspected of confronting his father about led Mark Redwine to become enraged and kill his son after Dylan’s mother got custody of him months earlier. Dylan’s brother, according to the defense, had confronted Mark about the photos while Mark and Dylan were on a separate road trip prior to November 2012.
And he said that while Dylan’s remains were eaten by animals scavenging for food, evidence of the alleged blunt- and sharp-force injuries on his bones was still enough for experts who spoke at the trial to determine they could have been made by another human, which prosecutors argue could only have been his father.
Justin Bogan, Mark Redwine’s public defender, used the circumstantial evidence to tell the jury that the evidence did not support Mark killing his son – saying the prosecution’s evidence was “so thin” and telling jurors that prosecutors were asking them to speculate in finding a verdict.
“When somebody is on trial for murdering their youngest son and the prosecution’s basis is ‘what if,’ ‘maybe,’ or ‘can you imagine,’ that’s a window into how weak the evidence is in this case,” Bogan said.
He argued there was no weapon found, no evidence of a cleanup or motive – though prosecutors did present an alleged motive and cleanup evidence.
“They have not provided you with information on what actually happened,” he said.
Bogan worked to poke holes in the stories of expert witnesses who spoke about blood in Redwine’s house and about the alleged injuries found on Dylan’s remains, saying that the blood found was a miniscule amount and that animals could have caused the injuries at hand. And he said that investigators did not properly collect or document evidence when collecting the boy’s remains.
“You’ve got a dad who may not have acted the way you would have acted when his son went missing, but [prosecutors are] creating this narrative about rage, photos, and a deteriorating relationship because the physical evidence doesn’t support that Mark Redwine killed his son,” he told the jury.
After the defense’s arguments and a brief break, Dougherty finished his closing arguments by telling the jury to look at their instructions and to find that Mark Redwine killed his son based on the evidence presented.
“Murders almost always happen behind closed doors and we look to evidence. And there is a mountain of evidence behind us here, and it all points to this man being the killer,” he said, pointing to Mark Redwine in court.
He ended his presentation by talking about the text Dylan’s mother, Elaine, sent to him the night he was last seen, asking him how the trip was going and if he was OK.
“She’s been waiting 9 years for a response because this guy killed her son,” he told the jury. “This is the response she gets now. No, your son was not OK. Mark Redwine killed him and should be held fully responsible and fully accountable.”
The jury was sent to deliberate just after 3:30 p.m. Thursday and went home for the day about 45 minutes later. The jury is expected to return for deliberations on Friday.
Denver7's Liz Gelardi and Stephanie Butzer contributed to this report.