Feb. 6 is Dylan Redwine's 18th birthday.
To commemorate his life, his mother and friends are gathering at 11 a.m. Monday at his memorial bench at Pine River Cemetery.
The boy disappeared just before Thanksgiving in 2012 while visiting his father, Mark Redwine, during a court-ordered visit at his Vallecito home. The boy didn't show up to meet his friends the next day as they had planned, and a massive search ensued. Mark Redwine had errands to do in Durango, and he said he left his son sleeping at his home that morning. He said the boy was gone when he got back. Partial remains of his body were found on Middle Mountain in June of 2013.
No arrests have been made in the case, but the La Plata County Sheriff's Office has stated Dylan was murdered, and Mark Redwine has been named a person of interest in the investigation.
Dylan's mother, Elaine Hatfield Hall, said she still believes her ex-husband killed their son.
"There never has been any doubt," she said. "We have looked to every avenue, and it always points the same finger back at him."
Her son wouldn't have wanted his family to quit living after he did, she added.
"We're focusing on him and what's right for him," she said. "We are clearing this case up, and making sure the person who did this to him gets their time."
While she acknowledges the upcoming birthday will be difficult, she wanted to have an opportunity for his friends and community members to gather to remember him.
"It will be a little celebration for Dylan, because he can't be here for his 18th birthday," she said.
Nearly five years after his death, his classmates still remember their friend.
"It'll be five years this November since Dylan went missing and I'd be lying if I said it did not have a huge impact on myself, my class, and this community as a whole," wrote Jackson Sibley, a friend of Dylan's and a senior at Bayfield High School. "Dylan's birthday is a time for all of us to just be thankful that we knew Dylan for the time that we did, and to remember that even though he is not here physically, he always has been and always will be with us."
Although Hall misses her son every day, she believes the community support after his disappearance has been positive.
"This is a community cause, not just our family any longer," she said. "It's very important to the D.A.'s office, the sheriff's office, and the community, to get justice for Dylan...I think this year will be an exciting year."
Not a day goes by without thinking of her son, but she also knows she and her family have to keep moving forward.
"I see all of his friends, and they're playing sports," she said. "Every year is hard." Speculating on what her son would be like today, she wonders if he would be planning to go to college, or if he would have a girlfriend.
"He would be driving," she said. "What would his plans be? His friends are reaching 5'11" and six feet tall. Who would he be today? Every day it crosses my mind. He would be establishing his independence."
"The Dylan Redwine case is still open," Lt. Dan Bender said in an email from the La Plata County Sheriff's Office. "It has never been set aside. The Sheriff's Office is not releasing any new information at this time."
District Attorney Christian Champagne said he is working closely with the sheriff's office on the case.
"It's a team approach," Champagne said. The investigation is not complete, "but we continue to consult very closely and look at how we can proceed and what steps we can take."
Hall said all are welcome to Monday's event.
"Thanks for all of the support," she said, speaking to the many people who still remember her son. "I appreciate everyone rallying around Dylan."