La Plata County Sheriff's Office investigators said Wednesday that they have identified a "person of interest" in the Dylan Redwine case after a former FBI criminal profiler was hired to help create behavior analyses.
"It's a fair statement that we are very encouraged that we have crossed the bridge from the unknown to the known," said Pete Klismet, who retired from the FBI after decades with the agency.
Investigators declined to name the person.
Investigators also said they have found "items of interest" after conducting searches on Middle Mountain Road, where Dylan's remains were found eight months after he went missing in November 2012 from his father's house near Vallecito Reservoir.
Until now, investigators have not identified any person of interest or suspect. On Wednesday, they were firm in saying that they do not yet have a suspect.
Saying that they have a person of interest and that they found notable items during searches in early June gives the case momentum it has not had since the teen's remains were found.
"There is a level of excitement right now that has not been previously felt before," Klismet said.
Investigators say based on what they found during the searches last month, more searches are planned in the area.
Six months ago, the Sheriff's Office and the 6th Judicial District Attorney's Office, looking for ways to boost their investigation, hired Klismet because he has an international reputation as a criminal profiler.
"They wanted to have a fresh set of eyes to look at the case," Klismet said Wednesday afternoon during an exclusive interview at the Sheriff's Office.
The longtime FBI agent, who lives in Colorado Springs, said he knew about the case from what he read in the media, but he was able to take on the behavior analysis not only because of his experience, but also because he could do it without "prejudice."
"My training and experience cause me to look at the 'why' differently," he said.
Criminal profilers are specifically trained to look at evidence of a crime and to deduce from that evidence information that paints a behavioral portrait of the type of person who would commit that particular crime, Klismet explained.
His work narrowed to looking at only one person of interest in this case. More work needs to be done to actually name a suspect, investigators say.
Klismet said much of his role involved trying to figure out a motive for the crime. When you have a motive, he said, it narrows potential suspects. He is confident that his profiling will lead to a long-sought-after conclusion about who is responsible.
"I've done quite a number of (profiles) and I've never been wrong - and I'm not wrong on this one," Klismet said.
Wednesday's announcement comes after a long investigation that has yielded few major breaks and prompted many in the community to lament a lag in progress. Since Dylan Redwine went missing when he was staying with his father, Mark Redwine, on a court-ordered visit, his family's drama has played out in the media and Dr. Phil's talk show.
Authorities have continued to investigate Dylan's death as suspicious, ruling out that he ran away or went hiking in the mountains.