You deserve to know why your child died and I feel obligated to tell you
By Erica Morse
Publisher, Victims News Online
Updated 10:15 p.m., January 10, 2020
(VNO) — Earlier this evening, I saw a news report that caught my eye: a man wearing a mask tried to grab a girl from a bus stop in Lubbock, Texas.
These days, I trust media much more than law enforcement in every facet of my world, so I tend to go to them first for help. I left a comment under the article, tipping off the reporter who I thought could be responsible. ‘Guy with a mask’, the report says. Yep, I know exactly who that sounds like. My suspect not only likes to wear masks, but I have the text messages to prove it. And I know for a fact he likes little girls.
So I made the usual post saying I have a potential suspect, and was told to call the police. I would have, as you have no idea how desperately I want someone in law enforcement to take this threat seriously.
But no one wants to listen.
Who is Shawn Adkins? Oh, God, how I wish I had never heard that name. However, in order for you to understand why I’m telling you this story, I have to go back years. You deserve to know how this started, and how we reached this point.
It was December 28, 2010. I was running the news desk for the local radio stations that day, and happened to pick up the phone when the Mitchell County, Texas, Sheriff called to ask for our help. “Erica, this is Sheriff Toombs over in C-City”, he said. “We have a 13-year-old girl who’s missing and no one has seen her in two days. We need your help”.
Those words are singed in my mind and will be until the day I die. Why? Because that call changed so many lives, my own included. No one understood that day what was about to happen and the evil that would be exposed. And no one – not Hailey’s father, not me, and certainly not the people of west Texas – ever expected a madman would still be running around nine years later, with law enforcement approval to stalk and kill.
Within days of Hailey Dunn’s disappearance, the police said they knew who was responsible: the live-in boyfriend of Hailey’s mother, Shawn Casey Adkins. Statistically, he was guilty – the mother’s boyfriend is always the prime suspect. In this case, he met the criteria and then some: he was the last person to see Hailey, he suspiciously quit his job the day she disappeared, and he lied to the police about all of it.
So affidavits for search warrants were issued: for the mother’s vehicle and cell phone, for Adkins’ cell phone, for every digital media device known to exist in his world, and to search his Mom’s house and that of his Grandmother.
Evidence was discovered in every single corner of those searches. 100,000+ images of child pornography, we were told. Bestiality. Pics of mom having sex with animals. Homemade videos of Shawn Adkins wearing a mask, holding a hunting knife, scaring the shit out of everyone he could.
And then, there were the cell phone pings.
Shawn Adkins’ phone pinged near the very location where Hailey Dunn’s scattered remains were located two-and-a-half years later.
In 2012, three of us were called in to a meeting with the former DA Investigator and Sheriff Toombs. They spread a map out on the table of a conference room and pointed to a square that was marked on the map.
“Search there”, we were told. “This is where you will find Hailey Dunn’s body”.
As heartbreaking as that discovery was, Hailey’s father held out hope for the next chapter, as promised by that Sheriff and DA’s Investigator:
“Find Hailey’s body and we will arrest Shawn Adkins”.
But, as luck would have it for Shawn, that never happened. The case was unexpectedly mandated to neighboring Scurry County the following day, and this hot case suddenly went radio silent for the next six years. We’ve heard plenty of rumors as to ‘why’ it was silenced and who the investigators over there are allegedly protecting, but what you need to know for your civil suit is that they knew it was him all along and didn’t arrest him.
The evidence is so frustratingly overwhelming I find myself getting angry just writing about it.
Fast-forward to 2018. Still no arrests, still no conviction. Over the years, Hailey’s father and I became friends. First, I was his advocate, then he asked me to get my Private Investigator’s license to solve the case. So I did. And in August of 2018, I puffed out my chest, announced I had a badge, and proclaimed Shawn Adkins would soon be behind bars.
But I failed – or so I’ve thought over the years. But I didn’t. The problem was, the case was already solved. All these new pieces to the puzzle just solidified a conviction more; but these west Texas good ol’ boys weren’t interested in talking with a Yankee female PI, no matter what information or evidence she had uncovered.
With the help of Hailey’s father and the best missing/murdered team in the nation, we proved this case is ready for trial – or, at the bare minimum, a grand jury. With more than 200 new tips, a dozen new witnesses, and hours of countless new interviews, we proved the Hailey Dunn murder case was more than ready to be tried.
There’s a problem, however: the District Attorney of Scurry County, Texas, seems to have no interest in trying this case. Hell, he can’t even return phone calls. Neither do the Texas Rangers. My God, please pull up the Netflix show, ‘The Confession Killer’. Watch it if you can stomach it. I had to face some harsh truths this week after reviewing that documentary, and it led me to write this piece.
Fast-forward to October 2019. This is where I take over, and no one – and I mean no one – gets to dispute what happened next, for the evidence is so overwhelming, and I have it all. As a matter of fact, several people have it. So if the rumors are true about a bounty on my head, go ahead and kill me. Just know you will not stop the truth from surfacing.
In October 2019, I began receiving messages from women in and around west Texas, who were being harassed by a man going by the name of ‘Casey’ online. Immediately, my ears perked up, as that’s Shawn’s middle name. I asked them to send photos. It was him. I asked for the messages. Yep, guy in a mask wants to have sex. That’s my guy. That’s my suspect. And I asked them to send me proof of the naked videos and photos, because that is a crime now in Texas, and we finally had the SOB on fresh crimes.
On October 28, 2019, I accompanied one of the victims to the local PD to make a report. I would name said PD, but after receiving a subtle threat from an official the other night, I’ve decided to withhold certain pieces until I’m safely across state lines. So we went to the PD to file the report, and an officer turned us away. He accused the victim of fabricating the story at my direction, and re-victimized this woman in every way possible.
I was livid. To make matters worse, after the cop ran me out of the station, he proceeded to tell the victim to stay away from ME.
Shawn Adkins continues to stalk women in west Texas and a couple in New Mexico. He could easily be the guy in the mask who tried to abduct a female student at that bus stop today. And I’m sitting here tonight angry as hell, feeling completely and utterly incapable of protecting every woman and child he is currently victimizing. For that, I am truly sorry.
You need to understand that Shawn Adkins is a sexual sadist. His body doesn’t allow him to ejaculate unless he is causing physical pain to another human being or animal. This isn’t just my theory. If you don’t believe me, ask the FBI to see the profile they came up with on him. Local law enforcement knew about it, but guess who didn’t? The public. The media. Hailey Dunn’s father.
Hell, believe it or not, I don’t even solely blame him for his sickness. Shawn Adkins never stood a chance in this world and he knows it. He knows why he is the way he is, and I wish he and I had met prior to Hailey’s disappearance. I would have gotten him the help he needed and deserved instead of letting him grow up hating the woman who made him who he became. I’m sorry, Shawn. You really did deserve better, and I don’t know if anyone has ever said that to you.
But to you, the parents of his next victim, I’m the most sorry. I’m sorry your child had to die because Shawn Adkins was raised in a crappy situation. I’m sorry the cops in west Texas refused to take that monster off the streets. I know who they say he’s related to in law enforcement, but it doesn’t matter anymore. Shawn Adkins will never face trial for the murder of Hailey Dunn, and he won’t pay the price for killing your child, either.
In closing, I want to apologize to you one last time. I’m sorry – in advance – that your beautiful child had to die because a whole bunch of people didn’t do their jobs. I didn’t fail you, and I know that now. West Texas law enforcement failed you. Shawn’s mother failed you. And every teacher, coach, therapist and principal to ever come into contact with Adkins failed you. So did the people who covered up his crimes as a teenager, when this could have been stopped and he could have gotten help. But dammit, I’ve spent the last nine years wearing many hats in this case: reporter, advocate, Private Investigator. One or all of them provided me the training on how to take down a child killer. I swear, I’ve done it before. The only thing I didn’t factor into the equation was that this particular murderer has a get out of jail free card and a law-enforcement issued license to kill.
UPDATE: On June 14th, 2021, Shawn Casey Adkins was arrested for the felony murder of 13-year-old Hailey Dunn and for tampering with evidence by concealing a corpse. His trial is scheduled for April 2023 in Nolan County, Texas.
UPDATE: On June 27th, 2023, Shawn Adkins was RELEASED from jail after evidence came into question. The murder of Hailey Dunn now remains ‘unsolved’.