The remains of a missing Texas cheerleader were discovered last month near Lake J.B. Thomas in Scurry County, according to authorities. The Scurry County District Attorney’s Office received written confirmation of the identity of the remains on Friday.
The cheerleader, 13-year-old Hailey Darlene Dunn, went missing in December 2010. The girl’s disappearance, along with the cause of her death, are still under investigation.
Dunn’s remains were found on March 16, more than two years after she went missing from Colorado City, Texas. She was the subject of intensive searches in and around her hometown. Searches included landfills and surrounding fields after her mother reported her missing on December 28, 2010.
More than 100 billboards were erected showing her picture and information about the case. But the effort appeared futile. Texas Rangers informed Dunn’s mother of the remains’ positive identification on Friday afternoon. Billie Jean Dunn will soon make the drive to West Texas to arrange her daughter’s funeral.
Shawn Adkins, the mother’s boyfriend, informed authorities that he last saw Hailey a day before she was reported missing. He said that the 13-year-old told him she was going to her father’s house, then was going to spend the night at a friend’s. However, she did not do either.
Adkins was considered as a person of interest in the case, but was never charged. Both Billie Dunn and Adkins have denied involvement in Hailey’s disappearance. Hailey Dunn’s grandmother, Spicy, said that family members have made sure not to change their phone numbers, so that law enforcement officials could find them easily.
Spicy added that her husband, Hailey’s grandfather, searched for six months after she disappeared to learn what had happened to his granddaughter. Unfortunately, he died in 2011. Spicy added, “He was very, very hurt, and he was on the computer all the time looking and trying to find anything that had to do with Hailey. Anything.”
Frada Radcliff, who led the organization Hailey’s Angels, which was dedicated to finding the young cheerleader, attended the news conference on Friday identifying the remains as Dunn’s. She commented, “We’ve been searching for her for two years, and it’s like losing a child of your own. I hate it. I wish we could have brought her back.”
It is not known when authorities will disclose the missing Texas cheerleader’s cause of death. Funeral arrangements have not been announced.