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The former live-in boyfriend of a West Texas mother has been arrested and charged in the 2010 murder of her teenage daughter, the local District Attorney announced this week.
Hailey Dunn, 13, disappeared from Colorado City, Texas, on Dec. 27, 2010, according to Abilene Reporter-News. Shawn Adkins, her mother’s then-boyfriend who was the last person to have seen her, was arrested and charged with murder on Monday in Big Spring, Texas, according to District Attorney Richard Thompson.
“The 32nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office would like to confirm that Shawn Adkins has been arrested in connection to the murder of Hailey Dunn,” Thompson said in a statement, noting that no further details would be given and the case is still under investigation.
In 2010, Adkins had told law enforcement that the day prior to her disappearance Hailey had left to walk to her father’s house. She had allegedly told him she had plans to sleep at a friend’s house that night — but she never arrived at either location.
As an intense search operation ensued in the period after Hailey’s disappearance, Adkins made statements of his innocence — even as police publicly named him as a person of interest in the case.
“Hailey, I hope you come home safe really soon,” he said in a 2011 interview. “You’ve been gone way too long. We all miss you, and we all love you.”
Billie Jean Dunn, Hailey’s mother, told local outlet EverythingLubbock.com that she’s “not surprised” about the arrest.
“I thank God that person has been apprehended and is going to pay for what he did here on earth,” she said.
In February 2011, months after the teen’s disappearance, police discovered more than 190,000 images of child pornography, bestiality, and other acts on several devices in the home Adkins had shared with Billie Jean Dunn, according to the Amarillo Globe-News. Dunn was arrested and received one year of probation for lying to police about Adkins’ whereabouts.
It wasn’t until March 2013 that the teenager’s body was found by a man searching for fossils near Lake J.B. Thomas in neighboring Scurry County, according to News West 9. Her remains were discovered about 30 miles northwest from where she had disappeared. Authorities did not release a cause of death.
Dunn’s father, Clinton Dunn, has long advocated for justice for his daughter as the case was moved to the neighboring county where her body was found. Eleven years later, he might now be one step closer to finding the justice he’s been seeking.
“Everyone will learn this moving forward: Clint’s intuition… was the driving force in this case,” private investigator Erica Morse told the Abilene Reporter-News. “He is a template for every parent who wants to find justice for their child.”
After his arrest on Monday, Adkins was transferred from Howard County to Mitchell County, where he remained Tuesday on a $2 million bond. It is unclear if he has an attorney to speak on his behalf.
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