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Family, friends of Dylan Redwine express mix of relief, sadness

Boy’s murder had lasting impact on childhood friends, Bayfield community
A sign seeking “Justice for Dylan” remained in place 3½ years after his death near Vallecito Reservoir. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

After the sentencing of Mark Redwine on Friday, Jackson Sibley, a friend of Dylan Redwine, started whooping and hollering with elation.

“I was running and yelling across campus,” Sibley said during a phone interview from Gunnison, where he is a senior at Western Colorado University. “I’m sure people thought I was crazy.”

Sibley is the same age as Dylan – they were both in eighth grade when he disappeared. The past nine years have been difficult, not only for his family, but for the close-knit group of friends Dylan had in Bayfield, even after he had moved with his mother to the Colorado Springs area.

Losing a friend to mysterious circumstances at such a young age “had a huge impact,” Sibley said. “It was really hard at the time because he was always one of our friends in our group, and he was missing.”

Jackson Sibley, left, and Chris Kane were among the friends of Dylan Redwine who spoke after his disappearance in November 2012. This photo was taken in July 2017. (Durango Herald file)

Bayfield is a small community, and he said he and his friends appreciated the concern of their parents and other families in the area as they joined searches and held vigils in his memory. They grieved when Dylan’s partial remains were found six months later.

“In really unfortunate circumstances, it created a strong bond,” he said, adding that he plans to come home next weekend to see his friends and family.

“I feel really happy about it,” Sibley said of Mark Redwine’s 48-year sentence. “But I’m sad he isn’t here.”

Friends and family of Elaine Hall, Dylan’s mother, on Friday agreed that they felt relief, but it will never make up for the loss.

“Today, I feel that Dylan got justice, and Mark got exactly what he deserved, under state law,” said Betsy Horvath, who was married to Mark Redwine before he married Elaine Hall and jokingly refers to herself as the “first bitter ex-wife.”

“All of us are now safe,” she said after the sentencing. “He can’t hurt anyone, and he can’t intimidate anyone.”

Having such a heinous act take place within a family is unsettling, she said, and it impacted her two sons, as well.

Cory Redwine, bother of Dylan Redwine, holds back emotions while talking about his brother in June 2013, about the time Dylan’s remains were located several miles up Middle Mountain Road near Vallecito Reservoir. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

“They have all done a great job, realizing their dad’s actions aren’t theirs,” she said of her sons, as well as Cory Redwine, Dylan’s older brother. “They are wonderful, wonderful young men, and they are nothing like their father.”

While the sentence brings some closure, Horvath said the biggest relief for her was when the jury found her ex-husband guilty of second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death. Having a jury examine the evidence and reach a unanimous verdict that Redwine is guilty brought validation to family members who knew Redwine killed his own son, she said.

“Dylan is an amazing young man that brought a community together,” she said. “We forged friendships that will never be severed.”

Like Horvath, Dylan’s aunt, Shari Kaotaniemi, traveled a long way this week to be with Elaine Hall and her family during the sentencing. Elaine Hall’s older sister now lives in Oregon, where people sometimes recognize a picture of her nephew in her office.

“As a family, Dylan was the baby,” she said of her four sisters and their children. “He would be 23 now. We all lost the baby of the family. It’s had an impact on everybody.”

One aspect of the case that impressed her was the amount of support her sister received from people in Bayfield and Vallecito after Dylan disappeared.

She and her sister all appreciate the investigators and volunteers who kept looking for evidence, and Dylan’s remains, for so long.

“They say it takes a village to raise a child, but it took a village to bury a child, to help us find the evidence we needed,” Kaotaniemi said.

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