Polygraphs, Behavioral Analysis, And False Confessions
Thirteen year old Dylan Redwine went missing from his father’s home in Vallecito, CO on November 19, 2012. As with many missing person cases, people took to social media to spread the word about Dylan.
In Dylan’s case a number of Facebook pages were created, some of which no longer exist. From them, three different groups have emerged. Those who focus solely on Dylan and the search for him, those who believe Dylan’s father, Mark Redwine has hidden or murdered him ruling out all other possibilities, and those who do not believe there is evidence at this time to support the allegations, threats, and harassment aimed at Redwine and believe that other possibilities should be considered.
The group that believes they “know” Mark Redwine is responsible for Dylan’s disappearance has been the most active and they appear to have a specific agenda; pressure Mark Redwine into confessing. While numerous reasons have been given as to why they have drawn this conclusion about Redwine, two stand out among the rest. Polygraph tests and Redwine’s behavior. They use these things to support their belief that Redwine is guilty of a currently undetermined crime in the disappearance of his son.
- Polygraph tests – Redwine admitted on the Dr. Phil show that the polygraph test he took for law enforcement was determined “inconclusive”. Dr. Phil then offered to let Redwine take a polygraph test with his expert, Jack Trimarco. After finishing taping the show for the day Redwine was taken to meet with Trimarco. It was determined that the test should not be given at that time. Redwine agreed to meet with Trimarco the following morning to take the test. That test was never completed. Trimarco ended the session in the pre-test portion after approximately 20 minutes. Looking disheveled and tired Redwine admitted to having drank the night before and not feeling well enough to take the test which automatically disqualified him from continuing. Redwine has not taken or attempted to take a polygraph test since.
- Behavioral Analysis – Many feel Redwine is not behaving the way they believe the parent of a missing child would. They may base their opinions on how they think they would behave in the same or similar circumstances or how they’ve seen others behave among other things. They point out what they believe to be suspicious and inconsistent in his demeanor and speech, as well as in what he does and doesn’t do. Some use these things as justification to harass and threaten Redwine.
- False Confessions – There are those who continually demand Redwine confess to hiding or harming Dylan despite the current lack of physical evidence known to the public to support their allegations. Confessions made under duress are not always true.
Understandably questions are raised about Redwine who was the last known person to see Dylan, the polygraphs, and his perceived behavior but is that enough to positively rule out all othere possibilities and determine him guilty of a crime?
In the 9 months Elizabeth Smart was missing her family went through a similar experience with those following her case. There were people who were positive Smart was dead and family was involved despite the fact that her sister had witnessed her abduction. These people would not consider any other theory or possibility. Among the multifarious reasons given for their beliefs were usual accusations that family members didn’t behave the way they should, did the wrong things, said the wrong things, and were inconsistent with their stories. Smart was found approximately 18 miles from her home on March 12, 2003 in the company of Brian David Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Ileen Barzee. Mitchell and Barzee were indicted for kidnapping Smart and eventually convicted.
It works both ways.
In 1994 there were those who believed Susan Smith when she claimed her sons were abducted by a carjacker. They felt she was doing the right things like cooperating with police and making public appeals for the safe return of her children. Despite reports of inconsistencies in her statements, they believed Smith behaved as they thought a distraught mother would. Nine days later Smith confessed. There was no carjacker. Smith had driven onto the boat ramp at John D. Long Lake, put her car in neutral, and watched as it rolled into the lake with her sons still inside.
Despite having access to a lot more information than the general public law enforcement doesn’t always get it right either.
In 2004 Kevin Fox was arrested and charged with the murder of his 3 year old daughter, Riley. Detectives told Fox he had failed a polygraph and during the course of a 14.5 hour interrogation Fox made a false confession that he killed his daughter by accident. Fox later released a statement through his attorney proclaiming his innocence and and accusing detectives of coercing a confession from him. After spending 8 months in jail Fox was exonerated by DNA evidence. In 2010 convicted sex offender, Scott Eby plead guilty to sexually assaulting and killing Riley Fox.
Jerry Hobbs spent 5 years in prison charged with the stabbing deaths of his 8 year old daughter, Laura Hobbs and her friend, 9 year old Krystal Tobias. Investigators apparently focused on Hobbs because he was new to the area, had found the victims bodies, had a criminal history, and they found his behavior suspicious. Hobbs falsely confessed to the killings after approximately 20 hours of interrogation. In 2010 the charges against Hobbs were dropped when DNA found on Laura Hobbs was matched to Jorge Torrez, a friend of Krystal Tobias’ older brother who was already serving a sentence in Virginia for attacking three women.