FARMINGTON — More than six months after Dylan Redwine vanished, searchers found the Colorado teen's remains near where he was last seen, the La Plata County Sheriff's Office announced Thursday.
Redwine was 13 years old when he vanished from his father's house in Vallecito, Colo. in November 2012.
Redwine's remains were found during a five-day search of a 12-mile stretch of Middle Mountain Road. The 45 searchers worked more than 1,600 man-hours as they looked for Redwine at elevations ranging from 8,000 to 11,000 feet through deep canyons and dense forests. The search started Saturday and ended Wednesday afternoon, said Dan Bender, a spokesman for the La Plata County Sheriff's Office.
During the search, bones and other items were found. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation announced Thursday the human remains were identified as Redwine and his family was notified.
Details of the other items found near Redwine's remains were not disclosed.
"There were a variety of items found over a four-day period and at the time we didn't know if we had animal remains or human remains," Bender said. "We didn't know what we had until today."
Bender didn't say if investigators could determine how Redwine died. His death is being treated as a homicide.
Dylan's father Mark told The Denver Post he was "blindsided" by the discovery.
"I cannot wrap my head around it," he said. "You can never be prepared for something like this."
Middle Mountain Road is a four-wheel drive road north of Vallecito Reservoir. The road leads to the Weminuche Wilderness.
Searchers, at times comprised of law enforcement and concerned community members, conducted extensive searches of the Vallecito area after Redwine's disappearance. The searches were called off in the winter but resumed again this spring and were held on a weekly basis since the snow melted, Bender said.
The recent search that uncovered Redwine's remains wasn't based on any recent tips of new information. It was part of a series of follow-up searches that started once the snow melted, Bender said.
Officials had been planning an extensive search of the Middle Mountain Road area for the past several weeks. The search included law enforcement, volunteers, search and rescue teams and anthropologists and archaeologists from Fort Lewis College.
Redwine grew up in Bayfield, Colo., before moving to Colorado Springs with his mother and brother.
He arrived at the Durango-La Plata County Airport on Nov. 18. He was picked up by his father, Mark Redwine, that night for a court-ordered Thanksgiving visit.
Redwine's mother, Elaine Redwine, reported her son missing the next day.
Mark Redwine told investigators he last saw his son at 7 a.m. on Nov. 19.
He left to run errands and when he returned home his son was gone, Mark Redwine told investigators.
Investigators previously said they ruled out the possibility that Redwine ran away and said they believe a crime led to his disappearance.
"We're left with kidnapping or foul play," Bender said in a December interview.
The case resonated regionally and nationally, and was featured on the Dr. Phil television show. "Missing" fliers with Dylan's photo were a common sight around Durango in recent months.
The conclusion to the search for Redwine brought an end to a disappearance that was as rare as it was mysterious.
The only child Redwine's age who went missing in the Four Corners and was never found was James Harvey. He was 14 years old when he vanished from his family's summer home in Hinsdale County, which is 17 miles northwest of Pagosa Springs, Colo., according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
The only San Juan County minor who vanished and was never found was Tiffany Reid. She was 17 when she disappeared on her way to Shiprock High School in May 2004.Ryan Boetel covers crime for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @rboetel on Twitter.