More than a decade after eighth-grader Hailey Dunn disappeared from her mother’s home in Colorado City, Texas, authorities finally arrested her alleged killer by connecting him to the crime through a DNA test.
Shawn Casey Adkins, the 35-year-old former live-in boyfriend of Hailey’s mother, was arrested Monday and charged with one count of murder. The Texas Rangers Unsolved Crimes Investigation Program got involved in the case last year and acquired the warrants that eventually led to his arrest, the Texas Department of Public Safety said Wednesday.
Hailey Dunn was just 13 years old on December 27, 2010, when she went missing. Her mother, Billie Dunn, reported her missing the next day, and Adkins told authorities that Hailey said she was going to her father’s house nearby then to a friend’s house to spend the night. She never showed up at either location.
Hailey’s remains were eventually found near a lake about 20 miles northwest of her mother’s home on March 16, 2013.
The years then ticked by as investigators failed to find any new evidence in the case until 2020, when Ricky Thompson, the district attorney for the 32nd Judicial District, got the Texas Rangers involved in the case.
The Texas Rangers started investigating and interviewed several people, eventually obtaining a search warrant to collect DNA from Adkins, who was previously named a suspect in the case.
That DNA sample was collected on June 13, and Adkins was arrested the next day in Big Spring, Texas. He is currently being held at the Mitchell County Detention Center on a $2 million bond.
Clint Dunn, Hailey’s father, told KTAB and KRBC in a statement Tuesday that he will “let the trial speak the truth.”
“Right now, there are no words to define how I feel,” Dunn told the local news outlet. “Thank you to everyone who searched for Hailey, and to those who fought tirelessly for an arrest. Hopefully, true justice will come in the courtroom.”