http://www.oaoa.com/news/crime_justice/law_enforcement/article_9d5d0b88-507e-11e2-8536-0019bb30f31a.htmlColorado City teen still missing after two years
Posted: Friday, December 28, 2012 7:30 am
Updated: 10:19 am, Fri Dec 28, 2012.
BY CELINDA HAWKINS
For Billie Jean Dunn, Thursday was an excruciatingly painful day because it marked two years since her daughter Hailey Dunn went missing. Billie Jean Dunn reported her daughter missing two years ago today.
“I broke down all day long,” the mother of the teen said of how she spent Thursday, recalling the day her daughter went missing. “It doesn’t get any easier. It has been worse lately especially because of the holidays.”
On December 28, 2010, just three days after Christmas, Hailey Darlene Dunn, 13, was reported missing by her mother. Shawn Adkins, Billie Jean Dunn’s then live-in boyfriend at the time, was the last person to see Hailey alive. He has been named the prime suspect in the case, but as yet, no arrests have been made.
In the two years since her disappearance, investigators from Colorado City, Mitchell County, the Texas Rangers, the Department of Public Safety and the FBI have followed countless leads but to no avail. And now, the FBI is officially the lead investigating agency in the case.
“We are still coordinating with Colorado City P.D., the Mitchell County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Rangers,” said Katie Chaumont, the spokesperson for the FBI. “This is an ongoing investigation but we are still working closely with local law enforcement.”
Ever hopeful, supporters, family and friends gathered at Ruddick Park in Colorado City last Saturday for one of many vigil’s that have been held to mark the time that has passed since the teen vanished.
“The vigil went better than I expected,” Billie Dunn said from her home in Travis County Thursday.
But she said she is tired of planning vigils — it is just too painful.
“It’s been two years of vigils,” Billie Jean Dunn said. “Every time we hope she’ll be home for a party and it never happens. I have to plan vigils instead of parties for my daughter.”
Hailey Dunn was first listed as a runaway, but on Jan. 3, 2011, a task force including FBI investigators, local, area and state law enforcement took on the investigation.
According to affidavits from Mitchell County, Hailey was last seen by Adkins on Dec. 27, when he said she went to spend the night with a friend. But the friend’s family would tell police that Hailey never showed up there that night, affidavits state.
Investigators looked at family members first and both Billie Jean Dunn and Adkins would flunk a polygraph. Investigators cleared Hailey Dunn’s biological father Clint Dunn almost immediately after she was reported missing.
Early on, Billie Jean Dunn asked Adkins to move out of their home after he flunked a polygraph test. Police later confiscated a computer from Adkins’ mother’s home, which was found to contain almost 109,000 images of child porn, bestiality and deviant acts. Billie Jean Dunn and Adkins reunited briefly, but separated again in 2011, this time for good. (No charges were ever filed on Adkins for the images found on the computer.)
David Dunn, Hailey's brother who was 16 at the time, told investigators he returned home at about 4 p.m. on Dec. 27 and pounded on the door for about five minutes. Upon entering the residence through the window, David Dunn observed Adkins "standing in the hallway with a deer in the headlights look," according to the affidavits.
Adkins never gave any statements to any member of the media except the Associated Press, when he denied any involvement with Hailey’s disappearance.
Investigators, searchers and the media have followed every possible development in the case, including the more than 70 alleged sightings of the teen.
In March, investigators converged on a site near the Big Spring airport where human remains were found. The remains were determined to have been those of a man.
In late October, authorities confirmed a letter sent by federal prisoner to her sister in Abilene, which claimed that she witnessed a 15-year-old teenager from Colorado City being drugged in a mobile home somewhere in Odessa in January of 2011. The letter did not mention Hailey Dunn by name, but said the teen died of a drug overdose. The letter said the girl’s body was buried somewhere in West Texas.
Billie Jean Dunn said she was blindsided by the Abilene television reporter who presented and read the letter to her in person. Billie Jean Dunn said she had no idea the letter indicated her daughter had been kidnapped, killed and buried somewhere in West Texas.
“I didn’t want to hear it,” she said, at the time, adding that the reporter knew that Billie Jean Dunn and the private investigator working on the case “were still believing she was alive.”
Upon hearing about the letter, Billie Jean Dunn went straight to FBI investigators, who she said have conducted interviews with nine or 10 people in connection to the letter.
“The FBI in Abilene said there was no credibility in the letter,” she said, adding that this restored her hope that her daughter would be found alive. “They assured me they went over this with a fine tooth comb.”
Earlier in October, Billie Jean Dunn announced that she had hired Houston-based private investigator Mac Sanford to help with the case after there were reported sightings of the teen. But she has since cut ties with Sanford.
Billie Jean Dunn said Adkins is among those the FBI continues to investigate.
“They are not able to clear Shawn (Adkins),” she said. “But there are others they are looking at, too.”
Having Hope for Hailey
While family and friends close to the case try to remain hopeful, with the passage of time, it becomes more difficult.
Billie Jean Dunn has placed her faith in the FBI investigator who has contacted her numerous times and even attended the vigil last Saturday. FBI officials would not identify the agent due to the on-going investigation.
“He said he’s here until she’s home,” Billie Jean Dunn said Thursday.
Sweetwater attorney John Young who has been retained by the family, applauded the work of the FBI agent in the case.
“The assigned agent has specialized training in missing children cases — we are pleased by the decision of the FBI,” Young said.
While her hope wanes, Billie Jean Dunn said no matter what, the family wants closure.
“Somebody knows something and possibly they are a parent, too,” she said. “I am going to beg parent to parent. No matter what the outcome is, my family needs to know — we need closure. “