(VNO) — Clint Dunn’s nightmare started with a phone call eight years ago.
“It was my ex-wife. She told me to call the police and report Hailey missing”.
It was Tuesday, December 28, 2010, around 1:30 p.m. Eight years later, that phone call re-plays like a loop in Dunn’s mind. “Even though I told the police what she said that first day, I didn’t realize until a couple years ago what it meant”.
‘What she said’ was, “You have to call the police and report Hailey missing”. I asked her what the hell she was talking about. She told me Hailey had been missing since yesterday, and I needed to call the police”.
“I was in shock”, Dunn said. “I started asking a million questions, and she kept telling me to call the police. I told her she needed to call the police and tell them exactly what was happening, and I was going to look for Hailey”.
“I couldn’t accept it until years later — when I began working with other families — that she never once asked me if I had seen Hailey. She never asked me if I knew where Hailey was. I work with parents of missing children, and they always ask their ex if they have the child. But she never did. She never asked me because she already knew. Billie Jean wanted me to make that call, because she was scared to death to make that report”.
Dunn, who lived directly across the street from his ex-wife and their two children, began making frantic phone calls to friends and family, while Billie Jean Dunn paced around outside, waiting for authorities to arrive and take an official report. Clint Dunn watched his ex-wife moving back and forth around the front yard from his apartment across the street.
“She wasn’t worried with panic”, Dunn said. “She was walking in a circle — I now believe she was practicing her story to police: going over details, waving her hands, holding her hands up to her mouth trying to look shocked and worried. She wasn’t crying. She had no idea I was watching from across the street with binoculars, while I was calling people to see if they knew where Hailey was. Then, she crossed the field to my apartment. The first thing she said was, “I have no idea where Hailey is”. That’s when she started in on her story – that Hailey was supposed to come to my house, then to Mary Beth’s. Hailey never came to my house on Monday, and she never went to Mary Beth’s. I talked to Mary Beth and her mother, and they swore up and down Hailey was never there, and was never supposed to be there”.
“I should have known then she was involved”, Dunn said. “But I couldn’t bring myself to think that the woman I had spent 13 years with could have murdered our daughter, or at least know who did and protect him. My mind wouldn’t let me go there yet”.
‘Hailey is missing’
Thirteen-year-old Hailey Darlene Dunn was officially reported missing at 3 p.m., on Tuesday, December 28, 2010, from her home in Colorado City, Texas. She spent Christmas night at her father’s apartment, then returned home on the morning of Sunday, December 26, 2010. According to her mother’s boyfriend, Shawn Adkins, Hailey allegedly asked Adkins if she could spent the night at a friend’s house; but Clint Dunn believes the entire story is nothing more than a carefully-crafted lie.
“She never asked Shawn permission for anything”, Dunn said. “He wasn’t her Daddy. She didn’t even like him. She wasn’t even friends with the girl whose house he said she was going to. Her mother never said she asked her permission, and she definitely didn’t ask me”.
Over the next week, Clint Dunn worked with police and the media to get his daughter’s photo out nationwide. Billie Jean Dunn was there, too; but Clint soon realized even the media was questioning his ex-wife’s story.
“When I wasn’t out looking for Hailey that week, I was at my apartment watching their house with binoculars, looking to see if Hailey would come home”, Dunn told Victims News Online. “That’s how I know she was lying about that New Year’s Eve party she said never happened. Nancy Grace caught it, and refused to let us back on when she told Billie Jean she knew she was lying. I needed Nancy’s help. I still need her help. I now understand what she was trying to tell me that night, that my ex-wife was somehow involved”.
Clint Dunn recalls watching, in horror, on New Year’s Eve 2010, while his ex-wife and Shawn Adkins, along with members of the Ostrander family, reportedly carried 30-packs of beer into Billie Jean’s house, drinking and watching the ball drop in New York past midnight. “They had a party, while I was on my hands and knees, begging God to bring my daughter home”.
“I don’t see how she could have done that. I don’t see how any of them could have done that”.
When the police announced 13-year-old Hailey Dunn was missing, the community rallied to find her. While Clint Dunn traveled up and down the freeways passing out fliers, his ex-wife, Adkins, and Billie Jean’s teenage son, David, did not assist in the search.
“David was 16 at the time Hailey went missing, and Billie Jean barged into the police station and told him not to talk to police”, Dunn said. “To this day, David has never been formally interviewed by police, and I believe he knows more than he’s been allowed to say. I know David is protecting his Mama”.
Dunn received another blow the week following Hailey’s disappearance: unbeknownst to him, he had never formally adopted David Dunn, and didn’t have standing to force an interview with police. “CPS came in and took custody of Hailey and David away from Billie Jean, and gave me custody of Hailey”, Dunn told VNO. “I filled out the (adoption) papers for David years earlier, and thought I had legally adopted him – he had my last name – so I told the police they had my permission to interview him. But Billie Jean never filed those papers, and stopped him from having all contact with law enforcement. I believe he had already said too much. He had already told me he caught Shawn in the house by himself – and had to crawl through a window to get in – on Monday”. I told the police about it immediately and that they had to talk to David. The next thing I knew, CPS removed David from his Mama and placed him with Billie Jean’s relatives over in Snyder. I’ve tried a few times to ask David what he thinks happened, but he couldn’t answer me. He always get angry and shuts it down.”.
“The day Hailey was reported missing, David told me he knocked and knocked and knocked on the doors as loud as he could”, Dunn said. “He had to crawl into the house through a window, went down the hallway towards his room, and saw Shawn standing there, eyes wide, with a ‘deer-in-the-headlights’ look. I told the police about that, and they were never allowed to ask David about it”.
“He knows if the tables were turned, Hailey would have been kicking and screaming to tell the police what she knew. He let his little sister down eight years ago, and it’s time he does right by Hailey. Why didn’t he tell the police what he told me? The truth is going to come out, one way or another”.
“I know the way David acted wasn’t him. He should have been all over it. In this world, there might be two other people who know him better than me, and that’s Hailey and his Mom. I raised that kid from the time he was nine months’ old. I know him, and I know David is withholding information”.
“I hate to do this in the media”, Dunn told VNO. But I’m stuck in December 2010. It’s been eight years, and no one has been arrested or convicted, even though the entire community – and the police – keep telling me who killed my daughter.
‘The police told me Shawn killed her’
Dunn is referring to a 2011 conversation with law enforcement: “It was a few weeks after the search center was set up, and I was going there to meetings and trainings to thank everyone for looking for Hailey and support them”, Dunn said. While at the Hailey Dunn Search Center in Colorado City, Clint Dunn recalled a conversation with then-District Attorney Investigator Billy Sides and Mitchell County Sheriff Patrick Toombs.
“Billy Sides looked me square in the eye and told me Shawn Adkins killed Hailey”, Dunn said. “It wasn’t a guess – he told me he did it. Sheriff Toombs agreed with him. I looked at the gun on Billy’s waist, and asked me why he just told me that. I said, “You stand there and tell me that, with that gun on your waist? What would you do if you were in my position”? I asked him if he wanted me to shoot Shawn Adkins and make this go away. They were using me as a pawn to do what they couldn’t – make Hailey’s killer pay. They didn’t say a word when I asked them that. They couldn’t”.
But Clint Dunn refuses to be a vigilante. “I’ve had a rocky relationship with God over the last eight years, but I know He exists. He has showed me miracles along the way. The only thing that keeps me from taking matters into my own hands is knowing I will one day be reunited with Hailey and spend eternity with her and God. I’m the only one who can mess that up”.
Clint Dunn believes the current investigator is not the right person for the case, and wants it turned back over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “The FBI used to have jurisdiction over this case, until Hailey was found in Scurry County”, Dunn told VNO. “But the current investigator thinks my ex-wife isn’t involved. That’s the biggest problem right there. He has ignored my requests for additional evidence testing that I believe might solve this case, and he gave her remains back to Billie Jean, knowing I had custody of Hailey”.
“She and her (now imprisoned attorney, John Young) fought hard for Hailey’s remains”, Dunn said. “There’s something about my daughter’s remains that I don’t know, because Billie Jean was way too excited to bury her and get this over with. She made sure not to invite me to Hailey’s funeral in Luling. I found out about it on Facebook”.
Dunn also fears the DA’s Investigator may be ignoring another death in the community, and worries it could be linked to his daughter’s murder.
“But we’re not going to talk about that today”, Dunn said. “That’s for the another article, because there will be new information coming out daily”.
“I know how to do this now”, Dunn continued. I know how to get justice for Hailey, and it’s going to be grueling. But Kalvon Hawkins showed me what to do when he took on his daughter’s case in Indiana. He ran Facebook Live videos, and VNO ran 13 articles in five weeks; it put pressure on the police and community, and resulted in the arrest and conviction of Keisha’s killer. Kalvon told me when he ramped up Keisha’s case that you can’t hurt a hurt man, and he told me today to put the petal all the way to the floor and not let up. I’m not going to let up. If I have to do it, or the police have to do it, we are going to solve this case in 2019. (DA Investigator) McDaniel said it might take 20 years, but he will eventually solve this case. I may not have 20 years. Hailey’s death has aged me, and this is killing me every day. I know this case better than anyone else on the planet. This is my daughter. I was living 75 yards away. Nobody will ever understand the guilt I carry over not being able to stop this. I know Hailey was calling for me in her last moments. I know she was calling for her Daddy to come save her, and I couldn’t stop it. But I’m sure as hell going to get the bastards who took her from me”.
“Anyone who has come to me with information over the years had better get ready for a phone call”, Dunn continued. “I’m going to spill it all, and not going to hold back. I love all of you, every one of you who has tried to help me. I appreciate people telling me information and not holding back; but we’re going to re-live this in the court of public opinion and put away the people who hurt Hailey”.
“My ex-wife is going to hate me more than she already does for shining the spotlight on her, but I promise I hate her more, Dunn said. “I hate that David will be upset, but it’s time for him to talk to law enforcement. It’s time the public knows all the circumstantial evidence that exists against Billie Jean and Shawn. I have a new Private Investigator and we have the power of this paper. I will go back on TV and put Hailey’s face out there. I will be everywhere. We’re going to use every tool and resource out there to put Hailey’s killer(s) away.
And he knows he will face backlash for it.
Dunn has faced his own public scrutiny in his daughter’s disappearance, although he was cleared by investigators early on. “The red earring”, Dunn said. I re-watched the Nancy Grace episode from January 2011, and what Billie Jean and David said about that earring is a lie. But we will get there. I will tell you everything, because I swear before God as my witness, I never hurt Hailey”. While Clint Dunn passed a polygraph exam, his ex-wife’s polygraph indicated ‘deception’, as did the two polygraphs administered on the prime suspect, Shawn Adkins. According to investigators, Adkins’ polygraph did indicate truthfulness when answering questions related to the location of Hailey Dunn’s body, and that he and Hailey’s mother were both involved.
Clint Dunn is ready for the microscope. “I’m an open book”, he said. “Bring it”.
There is a $15,000 reward for information leading directly to the arrest of Hailey Dunn’s killer(s). Anyone with information is asked to call Investigator John McDaniel of the Scurry County, TX, District Attorney’s Office at 325-573-2462, or you may submit a tip online to the Texas Rangers Cold Case Hotline.