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Volunteers, community continue efforts to find missing teen
12/13/2012 By: Carole McWilliams
Friday night's basketball games at Ignacio High School are cancelled due to weather.
Check out the bake sale Friday and Saturday at Brenda's Old West Cafe. Proceeds will help pay funeral expenses for Rita Hendricks, a 14-year employee of the restaurant who died Thursday.
Here is this week's lead story:
Reward for information increases to $11,000
By Carole McWilliams
Times senior staff writer
Supporters of Dylan Redwine and his family are working to keep up hope and community determination to find out what happened to the 13-year-old, who was reported missing from his father’s home at Vallecito on Nov. 19.
Community volunteers conducted a major search along County Road 240 last Saturday, and community members held a hugely attended fundraiser dinner and silent auction to support search costs Tuesday at the Pine River Foursquare Church in Bayfield.
A new wrinkle this week was an attempted scam taking advantage of the effort to find Dylan.
The scam operates via Facebook. The scammer identifies himself as Abass Gadafi, a new resident of the Bayfield area. He claims to be the "boss of a kidnapper gang" and claims to be holding Dylan captive and wants $1,000 to provide a photo of Dylan and then he expects another $4,000 in order to release Dylan. The scammer asks that money be sent to an address in Ontario, Canada via Western Union, to his gang “united kingdom.”
Do not respond, said sheriff’s department deputies.
Participants came and went to the Tuesday evening fundraiser, filling the large parking lot at the church. The supply of spaghetti and meatballs almost made it through the evening. Denise Hess, one of the organizers, called out raffle winners while participants ate and cruised the silent auction offerings. There were actually more donations than there was room to display. Those will be continued to an on-line auction. An estimated 800 people attended the event.
The fundraiser brought in enough to boost the reward about information leading to Dylan’s disappearance. The reward is now at $11,000.
Last Saturday, approximately 310 people took part in a search that covered 60 linear miles in an attempt to find clues related to Dylan’s disappearance, according to Dylan Redwine Task Force spokesman Dan Bender from the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office.
Saturday’s primary search area was several miles on either side of CR 240, also known as Florida Road, as well as side roads and other locations in the area. There were no new tips that led to Saturday’s search. Florida Road is a common route between Durango and Vallecito where Dylan was last seen. Investigators wanted to cover the route before a series of predicted snow systems enter the area.
Bender said 263 members of the public signed in Saturday morning to take part in the search. After a briefing, the volunteers were assigned to small groups with team leaders from La Plata County Search & Rescue and driven to designated search areas. Buses and drivers were provided by the Bayfield School District. Dylan was a student in Bayfield before moving with his mother Elaine to Colorado Springs on July 1 this year.
Of dozens of items flagged by searchers, 10 were collected by law enforcement investigators for future reference. The volunteers were shown pictures of items similar to Dylan’s hat, backpack, shoes, cell phone and jacket. All searchers were out of the field by 4 p.m.
Bender said that along with the citizen volunteers, personnel from at least 17 agencies and groups took part in organizing, supporting, and conducting the search including: La Plata County Sheriff’s Office; Durango Police Department; Bayfield Marshal’s Office; Colorado Bureau of Investigation; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Colorado State Patrol, Bayfield School District; Southwest Incident Management Team; La Plata County Office of Emergency Management; La Plata County Search & Rescue; Fort Lewis College professor Dr. Dawn Mulhern; La Plata County Mounted Patrol; Southwest Colorado Chapter American Red Cross; Durango Fire Rescue Authority; La Plata County Road & Bridge; Upper Pine Fire Protection District; and the “Durango T” transit system.
A task force of five local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies continues to investigate and follow-up on information from the public in their effort to find Dylan.
The Redwine family expressed their thanks to all the people who took part in Saturday’s search and to everyone who has supported them and continue to support them in this very difficult time.
Anyone who may have information on Dylan’s whereabouts is asked to contact La Plata County Sheriff’s Office Investigators Dan Patterson (970) 382-7015 or Tom Cowing (970) 382-7045. There is a local tip line, (970) 382-7511, where tips can be left on an answering machine that is regularly checked by investigators. If a citizen wants a return call from law enforcement, they must leave their contact information, but anonymous tips are also acceptable. This tip line is checked several times each day for distribution of information to the investigators.
Anyone with information also can call the local Crime Stoppers at 970-247-1112. An anonymous donor has given $5,000 to Crime Stoppers for information leading to the recovery of Dylan Redwine.
Persons can also call the hotline for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE LOST (1-800-843-5678).
The Task Force is still requesting any recreational video footage or photographs that include vehicles traveling on any routes between Durango and Vallecito Lake, taken between 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 18 through noon on Monday November 19. Citizens who have video footage or photographs that may be helpful to the investigation are asked to call dispatch at (970) 385-2900 to make an arrangement to get a copy of the footage or photographs to the Task Force.