Elaine Hall said Friday’s guilty verdict is the end of one chapter and the beginning of another – but it doesn’t bring closure.
“We're never going to have closure because you can't have closure when a piece of your life and your heart is missing," Hall said.
About 20 friends and family members of Hall gathered outside the La Plata County Courthouse after a 12-person jury found her ex-husband, Mark Redwine, guilty of second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in the death of their 13-year-old son, Dylan.
Some cheered, others hugged and wept tears of joy.
Friends described Hall as a pillar of strength throughout the yearslong effort to seek justice. But Hall shrugged it off, saying she did what came naturally.
“You really have no choice when your child goes missing and is subsequently found murdered,” Hall said. “I mean, what are you supposed to do? You can't just roll over in your bed and ignore the world. You have to fight, and that's what we did."
She thanked the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office and the 6th Judicial District Attorney’s Office for the time and resources they spent bringing the case to trial. It never would have happened without a turnover in leadership at the Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office, she said.
In a phone interview Friday, Sheriff Sean Smith said his office looked for the facts and presented the evidence the best it could.
“I think the result today showed that the jury understood the case we presented and the goal of seeking justice for the family,” Smith said.
The Sheriff’s Office will likely do an “after-action review” to determine how much time and money was spent on the case.
District Attorney Christian Champagne said the case wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the Sheriff’s Office, his team at the 6th Judicial District Attorney’s Office and the community as a whole.
“It’s an honor to be able to bring justice to Dylan and his family,“ Champagne said in a phone interview after the verdict.
He dismissed any notion that the case was brought to justice as a result of a change in leadership in his office or the Sheriff’s Office.
“One of the major developments in the case is that new evidence was uncovered, so that played a big part in us being able to come forward and bring charges,” he said.
He declined to comment further because the case awaits sentencing Oct. 8.
Public defender Justin Bogan, who represents Redwine, did not return a phone call Friday seeking comment.
Hall spent nearly five weeks in the courtroom with her ex-husband, but she said she didn’t notice anything remarkable about Redwine’s demeanor or his reaction to Friday’s verdict.
And she doesn’t try to understand what he might be thinking.
"You can't get in the mind of someone crazy like that,” she said. “There’s no logic. There’s nothing. He looked just like he did when Dylan went missing. Mark has always been worried about one person, and that’s Mark, and that will never change."
Her son, Cory Redwine, told jurors that he still loves his father, whom he refers to as Mark. And he said that remains true today, even after Friday’s guilty verdict.
“I wanted Mark and Dylan to be a part of my life,” he said outside the courthouse. “I loved Mark for many, many years, and he was kind to me for many years, and those are memories that I will always hold onto. But he did what he did, and he’s going to have to face the consequence for that."
Hall said it was a complicated case with a mountain of evidence. Even she learned new details about the investigation sitting through the five-week trial, she said.
It was tough seeing some of Dylan’s friends take the witness stand and imagining who her son might have become, she said. She said his future was wide open, but she is certain he would have been a loving uncle and a “stand-up man like his brother.”
“It breaks my heart, but at the same time I'm so proud of them," she said of Dylan’s friends, who are now in their 20s.
One of those friends was Ryan Nava, whom Dylan planned meet the morning he went missing. Outside the courthouse, Nava expressed relief that the justice system works, something he hasn’t been certain of since childhood.
Nava said he never had a strong opinion about Redwine’s guilt, but now he can say without a doubt Redwine is guilty.
Nava knew Dylan for about three years. He said Dylan probably would have grown up to look a lot like his older brother, Cory, and had similar traits. But Dylan was a unique person, and so much fun, he said.
“I think about him a lot,” Nava said. “I hope I made him proud.”
Hall thanked the community for its support and resources spent in bringing the case to trial.
She said strangers missed Thanksgiving with their families to search for Dylan.
“And it’s frustrating to me,” she said, “because throughout the whole time that Dylan was missing, Mark knew where he was."