By Erica Morse
updated 11am CST, March 21st, 2012
When two tank workers found a set of human remains yesterday, hearts sank in west Texas.
The men, employees of Desert Tanks Custom Tank Fabrication, discovered the remains around 2:30 Tuesday afternoon in the rural west Texas town of Big Spring.
Public opinion immediately centered on missing Colorado City cheerleader Hailey Darlene Dunn, missing now for nearly 15 months. Although a positive identification has yet to be made, sources close to the case have indicated to MPN the remains do belong to a female, approximately 11-15 years old.
Hailey Dunn has been on the minds of everyone in that region since she was reported missing on December 28th, 2010. The prime suspect in her disappearance, Shawn Adkins, is the boyfriend of Hailey’s mother, Billie Jean Dunn. Adkins reportedly made a stop at his place of employment on Monday, December 27th, a company that speclializes in case holes for oil tanks. Speculation for the last 15 months has been that Adkins went to work that day to find a list of unmanned wells in the area where he could dispose of a body.
When you add in the fact that the remains were found approximately two miles from the home of Adkins’mother, it adds up to what Texans feared most. According to Adkins, he got into an argument with his boss at Weaver Services Inc. (WSI), around 6am that morning, was terminated, and then went to his mother’s home in Big Spring to file for unemployment using her computer. However, throughout the investigation, it was learned Adkins was not fired from his job, and instead entered the facility that day around 6am, purchased a soft drink, and mulled around for approximately 10 minutes. An anonymous source told MPN last August that video surveillance from the company showed Adkins standing in front of a board listing unmanned wells in the area for that day.
Now, the case will most likely be deemed a homicide, once an official identification has been made. Although it is glaringly obvious to some searchers and volunteers that the remains are likely those of Dunn, there has been no official identification. FBI officials from Dallas are in Big Spring this morning to evaluate the crime scene, and to begin forensic and DNA analysis of the remains.
MPN received word late last night that the mother of the missing teen, Billie Jean Dunn, had been notified of the discovery, and was en route to the area from her current residence in Austin, Texas. Although we have no confirmation of her location at this time, eyes are peeled in the area today for any sighting of Dunn. Reporters from NewsWest9/KWES-TV/Midland, Texas, are in the Big Spring and C-City areas today, and will continue to assist us in updating this story as more details become available.
Editorial note: Erica Morse, Editor of MPN, is a volunteer searcher on the Hailey Dunn case, and has been covering this situation since the afternoon of Dunn’s reported disappearance back in December 2010.