LA PLATA COUNTY, Colo. — Elaine Hall, the mother of Dylan Redwine, took the stand Wednesday morning in the trial for her ex-husband.
She testified at length about the last time she saw Dylan in November 2012 and when she learned that his remains had been found months later.
"It was so surreal," Hall testified. "You don't expect any of this to happen you and, you know, I figured he was safe because he was with his dad. And I was devastated that no one knew where my son was."
Dylan's father Mark Redwine was indicted in 2017 and charged with second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death for the boy's disappearance and death.
Dylan Redwine was last seen on Nov. 18, 2012, during a court-ordered visit with his father. His remains were found on Middle Mountain near his home in Bayfield in June 2013.
Hall testified Wednesday that she was in southwest Colorado at that time because an organized grid search for Dylan was taking place. However, she said she could not bring herself to participate in the search, which she said focused on Middle Mountain because the area had just reopened.
"I didn't go up on the mountain," she said. "Honestly, I didn't want to find anything belonging to my son when I was up there.
"So I made the decision to just not go."
She testified that over the course of several days, search crews found remains and items that belonged to her son.
The first item, she said, was a shoe brought to her by investigators, and she positively identified it as belonging to Dylan. Eventually, human remains were found and DNA testing was done to identify the pair as Dylan's shoes. Hall testified that she provided a baby tooth that belonged to Dylan to assist with that DNA identification.
Earlier in her testimony, Hall said that Dylan did not want to go visit his father for the Thanksgiving holiday and said instead he wanted to stay and celebrate the holiday with her family in the Colorado Springs area.
She said a big reason for that was because her mom, Dylan's grandmother, had recently been diagnosed with cancer. She said she contacted her attorney regarding the visit.
"She basically said it was a court order and that I would be in violation of the court [if Dylan didn't go]," Hall testified.
She testified that Dylan was supposed to leave for Durango on Nov. 17, but his first flight was canceled and rebooked for the following afternoon.
She said the last time she saw Dylan was at the Colorado Springs Airport just prior to him boarding the plane on Nov. 18.
"I said oh, you’re too old to give your mom a hug, and then he came back and gave me a hug," she testified.
That was the last time she said she saw Dylan. Hall testified about several text messages exchanged between the two later that evening, but said she did not get a response to the message she sent to him just after 10 p.m. on Nov. 18. He never responded to any messages after that, she testified.
She said the next day, as she was getting off work, she got a message from Mark Redwine asking if she had seen Dylan because he couldn't find him.
"I was in my car driving home," she said. "I was frantic. I was nervous. I was six hours away and he's asking me if I've seen Dylan."
She testified that she called her other son and told him that Mark Redwine couldn't find Dylan and then called her husband and told him. She said she went home, packed a bag and immediately headed to the Durango area with her other son and husband.
Much of Hall's testimony Wednesday morning focused on email and text exchanges between her and Mark Redwine that are often very contentious.
Messages shown in court indicate that Mark Redwine first texted Hall that Dylan was missing at 4:32 p.m. on Nov. 19, 2012.
"Elaine, I am wondering if you have heard from Dylan, I have been trying to reach him all afternoon," the message from Mark Redwine says.
She responded: "It's really worrying when I've seven hours away and I get a message like this from you. I haven't heard from Dylan today. Where did you leave him or last see him?"
Mark Redwine responded seven minutes later and said he went to town earlier and Dylan was fine but noted he was concerned because he hadn't heard from him, according to the transcript read in court.
Hall responded, according to the transcripts, that "it was not fine" because their son was missing and that it was weird for him to "just up and leave."
According to the transcripts, Mark Redwine said he had just left the Marshall's office. However, according to those same transcripts, Hall called the Marshall's office to make a report and there was no record or report about Dylan.
"When I called the Marshall's office," Hall testified, "They didn't have a report or anything on Dylan being missing. They really didn't know anything."
Her call to the office was played in court Wednesday and appears to support her testimony that there was no prior knowledge about Dylan before her call.
Hall finally arrived around 2:30 a.m. on Nov. 20 and went straight to the Marshall's office, Hall testified.
"I don't think I did sleep," she said about the night she arrived. "I was stressed out because I didn't know where my son was."
She said that over the next few days and weeks they did everything they could think of to try and locate Dylan.
"We had driven up to Vallecito, just standing in the middle of the road, just calling his name," she said. "We did foot searches with just my immediate family... Anybody who could help me, I was knocking on their door."
Hall continued her testimony into Wednesday afternoon when she was grilled by the defense team about her less than amicable split with Mark Redwine and their bitter divorce and division of assets that continued for years.
The defense insinuated that Hall drew extra media attention and waged a public campaign against Mark Redwine where she made it known she believed he had something to do with Dylan's disappearance.
"My goal was to bring Dylan home," she said. "My intention was to bring Dylan home. It wasn't to belittle or besmirch or anything like that it was to get Dylan's face out there in case anyone in this country had seen him."
She denied that was her goal, but did admit that she believed Mark Redwine knew more than he was telling.
"I believed then that he was the last person to see Dylan and he had no answers for us and he was refusing to answer any questions or help us find Dylan and it was frustrating," she said.
The defense said Hall organized a protest outside Mark Redwine's home, but Hall denied organized that event, which took place in February 2013. She did, however, admit she was there and photos shown in court showed her and her other son among a crowd of people holding signs outside Mark Redwine's home.
"I've always said, that I believed he had a hand in Dylan's disappearance," she said.
Following Hall's testimony, a contractor who worked on Mark Redwine's home in 2011 following a fire there took the stand. He testified about purchasing and installing new hardwood flooring at the home.
Ronald Armstrong said prior to the work, the home was uninhabitable due to fire and smoke damage but the structure was still good. He said the work was completed and a certificate of occupancy was issued in April 2011, which meant that Mark Redwine was allowed to move back into the home.
A woman who once lived next door to Mark Redwine also testified. Due to the rural area, she said her home was about 100 yards from Mark Redwine's house. She said around 2 a.m. on Nov. 19, she woke up to use the bathroom and noticed that the outside porch light was on at Redwine's home.
She said it was obvious because it's typically very dark due to their remote location. She also said that Redwine was not home that often since he was a truck driver so it struck her as a little odd to see that light on.
Cory Redwine, Dylan's older brother, was the last witness to testify Wednesday afternoon.
He testified that despite a seven-year age difference, he was close with Dylan and was often the one to take him to his sports practices and to school.
Cory Redwine also testified about the terrain around Mark Redwine's home and the area of Middle Mountain, where Dylan's remains were eventually found.
He testified that it was rough terrain and that it would be difficult to access by vehicle but was accessible by ATV. Cory Redwine also testified that his father was familiar with the area because he would go up there to gather firewood and noted that he did own an ATV.
Prosecutors also asked Cory Redwine whether he ever had a bleeding injury at Mark Redwine's home, specifically in the living room area. Cory Redwine replied no.
They also asked Cory whether Dylan had ever mentioned that he had a bleeding injury while visiting his father at the Vallecito home, to which Cory replied no.
A photo was also shown of Cory Redwine on a leather couch inside Mark Redwine's home where wooden flooring and carpet were visible.
He testified that the leather couch and floors were all relatively new and had been replaced following a recent fire.
Cory Redwine testified about a trip to Cleveland with his father Mark and Dylan. During that trip, he said that Dylan stumbled upon some compromising photos on a laptop of his dad. They included photos of Mark Redwine wearing women's clothing and a diaper.
He testified that seeing the photos changed Dylan's view of his father.
"Dylan lost any reason to look up to Mark that day," Cory Redwine said.
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