The 2012 disappearance US teenager Dylan Redwine was dubbed a “national mystery” that played out in an absurdly public manner.
While authorities collectively scratched their heads as to where the 13-year-old was for close to a year, Dylan’s parents Mark Redwine and Elaine Hall pointed fingers at each other, their hate-filled divorce and custody battle illuminated onto television screens across the world.
Since the boy vanished on November 18, 2012, speculation swirled as to whether Mr Redwine played a role; with police believing he was the last person to see Dylan, who was visiting on court orders to his father’s Colorado property.
So ‘entertaining’ was the child’s disappearance, the possibility of Mr Redwine submitting to a polygraph test was tossed around during the family’s tenure on Dr Phil. So juicy the story, they were given two episodes of air-time in 2013, three months since their missing son was last seen.
“I do believe that Mark took Dylan to punish my mum and essentially, hurt her,” the pair’s oldest son Cory, who referred to his father by first name only, said on the program. “I think Mark has been lying from the start.”
Then there was the ex-wife, ‘Betsy’, who appeared on the daytime television show to reveal she felt fearful of Mr Redwine throughout the duration of their ill-fated marriage.
“There are so many questions, and the stories keep changing; and that’s why people are looking at you,” she told him and millions of people.
While television ratings spiked and viewers clung to the edges of their seats, in the real world, it’s believed Dylan had already lost his little life. His remains would be found some four months after the episodes aired, thought to be spread by wild animals through bushland, still close to a road Mr Redwine was ‘very familiar with’.
And now, four-and-a-half years on, the man who briefly lived reality TV infamy while his child was missing, has been indicted with his murder.
According to 9News, a grand jury found the evidence – which included remnants of blood on Mr Redwine’s living room couch, the scent of a dead body in his pickup truck and on his clothes, and odd conversations about the state of his son’s skull – sufficient to charge him with second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death on Saturday.
Now, he sits in a Washington prison on a $1 million bond.
“[I am relieved, but] I’d rather have my son,” grieving mother Elaine Hall told 9News. “But I can’t change that fact and so we will do as we have done for the last five years and that is you know just keep pressing on and keep Dylan’s story out there. And make the murderer be accountable for what he did to Dylan.”
It's unclear why such a motion took so long, considering one of Mr Redwine's sons told investigators in 2013 that his father repeatedly mentioned Dylan died of blunt-force injuries.
Coupled with this, is Ms Hall's claim that Mr Redwine told her he would “kill the kids before he let her have them".
For Ms Hall, she's never had any doubt as to who is responsible for her son's death.
"There was never any doubt in my mind ever," she said. "I knew that Mark had something to do with Dylan's disappearance and unfortunately yes his murder. I've said that from day one."
As for Dylan - the child who was lost in this mess - he should be turning 18 this year. And his mother still can't help but imagine the tall, sports-crazy man he would have become.