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Cadaver dogs to search for missing Monument boy

By: Garrison Wells
February 6, 2013
photo - Dylan Redwine Photo by
Dylan Redwine Photo by  

An Edgewood, N.M., canine forensics organization that specializes in finding cadavers will spend a couple of weeks in the Vallecito area looking for the body of the 13-year-old Monument boy who disappeared over the Thanksgiving holiday.

The nonprofit, Special Operations Inc., K-9 Forensics, will do the search at no charge, said owner Wendy Kessinger.

“I plan to live up there for two weeks,” she said. “I’m hoping within that time we will be done, but if I have to stay up there longer, I will. This is not a one-shot deal. If he’s there, we will find him.”

It will be a hard two weeks for the Redwine family.

Dylan Redwine disappeared Nov. 19 from his father’s house in the Vallecito area near Bayfield, and clues to his whereabouts have been few. Searches for Dylan by volunteers and investigators have stopped. On Wednesday, he turns 14 and rallies called “Beams of Hope Birthday Blaze” will be held in Denver, Monument, Bayfield and Farmington, N.M.

In all, nearly 3,000 are expected to attend, according to the Find Missing Dylan Redwine Facebook site.

More than 1,000 have signed up to attend in Monument, where Dylan lives with his mother, Elaine and her fiance, Mike Hall.

“There’s a myriad of scents that they are going to be searching for,” said Elaine. “But they are cadaver dogs as well and it is very scary and I hope they don’t find anything. Whenever cadaver dogs are looking for your child, it’s gut-wrenching, but I can’t just pretend it’s not a possibility.”

Dylan’s father, Mark, did not return telephone calls.

Kessinger, a retired Florida firefighter, said she has done searches for 10 years.

In December, her dogs located a suicide victim in the Sandia Mountains in New Mexico in two days.

She has one bloodhound that is trained to track and three border collies trained to find cadavers.

The snow and rugged terrain will make the search difficult, she said. But the border collies have trained in the snow and water and have done cadaver work for eight years.

Kessinger said she will meet with Elaine, Dylan’s older brother Cory, and Hall on Saturday. She will meet with Dylan’s father Mark on Friday or Saturday.

Interviewing the family, she said, is critical to this kind of search.

“I get to know Dylan,” she said. “I want more information on Dylan himself, his tendencies, what kind of athlete he was, what kind of a kid he was, how angry he might have been.”

She has determined the length of his stride and the wind speed on the day he disappeared.

She’s pored over maps of the area, gotten addresses of registered sex offenders, even spent time at Vallecito Lake, one of the areas searched by investigators and volunteers.

“I don’t believe that’s where he is,” Kessinger said. “I looked at the lake. I was there already. One of my dogs gave me an indication in one area that I’m going to check out, but I’m going to sit and talk with the family.”

If a body is not found, it would be equally important to the search for Dylan, she said. The FBI hires her to rule out areas in some cases.

“There’s a process of elimination,” she said. “The body may not be there. It works both ways.”

“It’s very difficult,” Kessinger added. “My heart goes to Mom and Dad. I just can’t even imagine. That’s a 24-7 hurt.”

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