By Marcus Uhe
Pakenham’s Dylan Redman describes the bond between him and his older brother Owen as “typical” of male siblings.
Five years his junior, Dylan, the “annoying little brother”, wanted to go wherever Owen did, and followed him into the world of music, where he has made a living as a drummer and drum teacher, influenced by a love of bands like Led Zeppelin and The Police.
He’d love to see a live band with his brother at one of Melbourne’s iconic live music venues one day, such as Richmond’s Corner Hotel or the Hotel Esplanade in St Kilda.
But Dylan hasn’t seen Owen for 31 years, since he and his father reported him as missing on Thursday 21 February, 1991.
Although not entirely out-of-character for Owen to make the occasional solo trip for a hike or music festival without much communication to his family or loved ones, it was Owen’s wife who raised the alarm, after he was off the grid for a month, which was considered longer than usual.
From there, Dylan and his family swung into action.
“I was a fair bit younger and didn’t have the resources like Facebook back then,” he said.
“It’s literally boots on the ground.
“We went to his house, places he frequented, cafes, venues, and tried to connect with his housemates.”
Various tips from members of the public have proven unsuccessful over the years and as time goes by, Dylan has learnt to deal with the emotions and the reality of situation. But landmarks, such as Owen’s birthday, old streets he used to live, or seeing old friends are difficult reminders.
He has learnt to deal with a concept described to him as “ambiguous loss”, and struggles with the concept of achieving closure.
“The person who’s missing hasn’t passed away as far as you’re aware, but in a sense they have. It’s like a social passing away, because you can’t contact them. It’s frustrating.
“Closure is a misnomer; even if he did come back, there’d still be a sense of, why did he take so long, and what did we do that was so wrong that made us disconnect.”
On the 30th anniversary of Owen’s disappearance last year, Dylan, his wife and Owen’s ex-wife spent a couple of hours together at Owen’s old Brunswick West house, promoting the event on social media in the hopes that Owen would see it, and present an opportunity to reconnect.
“It was for our own benefit, just to put it out there.
“Even he didn’t see it, we wanted him to know that we love him, we care for him and he will not be forgotten.”
This National Missing Persons Week, Dylan is taking the opportunity to tell the story of his brother, and raise awareness of the plight of other missing people, for the sake of their families.
“It’s a complex thing because it’s not cool, and there’s no cuteness about it,” Dylan said.
“It’s just hard and it’s a harsh reality that people do disappear.”
When asked what he would say to his brother if they had the chance to reunite, Dylan kept it simple, and heartfelt.
“I’d just want him to know that it’s OK to reconnect. There’d be no hard feelings, no judgement, I’d happily accept him back into our lives.
“I’d love to shout him a coffee or a beer at a pub with no expectations or complications.
“I hope that one day I can get a chance to chat to him again.”
Owen Redman is listed at 176 centimetres tall, with light brown hair, a slim build, a fair complexion and blue eyes.
He was last seen in Brunswick, where he lived at the time.
He failed to show to work at Green Peace and took none of his personal belongings or money at the time of his disappearance.
Police believe that Owen may have changed his surname to Moore.
If you have information that may assist police to locate Owen, please call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au