DURANGO — Prosecutors on Wednesday sought to punch holes in defense attorneys’ suggestion that a 13-year-old boy might have been killed in an animal attack in southwest Colorado rather than at the hands of his father.
Heather Johnson, a wildlife biologist who studied bear behavior in the Durango area from 2011 to 2017, testified on the eighth day of the murder trial for Mark Redwine, Dylan Redwine’s father, The Durango Herald reported.
An animal attack in the Vallecito region near Redwine’s home in November would be “highly unlikely” because most bears were in hibernation by that time, and there was no trash that would have attracted a bear to the area, Johnson said.
She also noted that large prey, like a small child, would not be a primary food source for animals like bears and mountain lions in the fall.
Mark Redwine, 59, is charged with second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in the death of Dylan, who was reported missing Nov. 19, 2012, while on a court-ordered Thanksgiving visit to his home outside the small city of Durango.
Some of the boy’s remains were found in 2013 a few miles from his father’s home, and his skull was found nearly three years later. Prosecutors claim Redwine killed Dylan the night before he was reported missing during a confrontation over photos showing the elder Redwine eating feces from a diaper.
Redwine told investigators that Dylan was asleep when Redwine awoke that morning and that he returned from errands to find his son gone.
Tonya Golbricht, a former investigator with the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office, testified that in November 2015, two hikers found the boy’s skull 5 miles (8 kilometers) from where his first remains were found. Prosecutors argue it was highly improbable that an animal attack would have resulted in the remains being separated by such a large distance.
Redwine, who was arrested after a grand jury indicted him in July 2017, faces up to 48 years in prison if he is convicted.