A somber conclusion regarding missing Colorado City teenager Hailey Dunn was presented to the media at a press conference held Wednesday morning, March 30 at City Hall.
"Hailey may be deceased," said Pete Kampfer, city manager of Colorado City. He did also state, however, that there was a possibility that Hailey could be under duress or even held against her own will.
Kampfer reiterated that the right situation must be put together and organized in order to locate the missing 13 year old. All available resources are still working simultaneously in the effort to try and find Hailey as best as possible, and quite a few resources are still on hand.
From the beginning, said Kampfer, statements of this magnitude have been made that Hailey is presumably dead, but Kampfer echoed law enforcement's feeling that the notion is "[probable] or most likely".
Local media outlets spanning as east as Abilene and as far west as Midland/Odessa presented a slew of questions to Kampfer. While headlines across the area have already reported Hailey as possibly deceased, Kampfer stated that while there is no proof, she probably is, but he still leaves the aspect of being under duress as a possibility.
When asked if searchers outside of law enforcement should feel the same sentiment about Hailey being deceased, Kampfer stated that even though the thought is pessimistic, the concept may need to be adopted by volunteers.
Searches are still being conducted by law enforcement, yet Kampfer stated that any tips and all continued engagement from volunteers is accepted. He also added that law enforcement should not only still be looking for a body but anything in relation such as clothes.
Questions were also presented about Shawn Adkins, the only named suspect and the former live-in boyfriend of Hailey's mother, Billie Dunn. Kampfer said that while he was unsure of why Adkins had not been arrested for his collection of pornography, it would be up to the prosecution to carry forward. When asked if law enforcement were waiting for Adkins to make a wrong move, Kampfer stated he was unaware of any direct strategy from authorities.
With the material that was found — including child pornography and images associated with other devious acts, the question was raised if the suspicion of foul play could be considered. Kampfer expressed that association and human behavior can lead from one thought to another, and also speculated of possible forced participation on Hailey's part, leading to the scenarios of missing or deceased.
Regarding Hailey's family, one particular question was raised of whether the hard feelings held by Billie Dunn toward law enforcement affect the ongoing case. Kampfer stated that the only contact made between law enforcement and the family is done through speaking with Dunn's attorney. Direct contact has not been made with Hailey's father, Clint Dunn.
While he is unaware if the family remains optimistic, Kampfer remarked that as a parent, he is only left to imagine the family's emotional mindset.
No accurate answer could be given by Kampfer as to whether Hailey can be ruled out as a runaway, but he did add that the decision to conclude Hailey as deceased by law enforcement was not made based on a single cause. Multiple, plural reasons have led to such a presumption.
The notion was also presented by media that if no body was found, then no arrests would be made. Kampfer offered that while laws limit prosecution, the evidence should line up to lead to any arrest because of the time, money and efforts that have been put into the case.
According to Kampfer, the search has now been broadened to accelerate the case into a different level. Previous concepts such as "successful prosecution" and "safe return" have been tossed out in order to find Hailey in an effort to lead to other aspects of the case.
And as the case broadens, the hope is that leads will increase. Posters and other tangible publicity will now have the official stamp from law enforcement, as previous posters have been unauthorized through volunteer efforts. Kampfer also believes that an appropriate award may lead to more information, enticing suspects to take that risk of divulging pertinent details.
An official reward has been set and will be listed on a flier coming directly from local authorities in order to gain information on Hailey's whereabouts. The price initially stands at $15,000 but at the meeting's end, Kampfer added that if no information is gained with the current price tag, the number may go up by the time the flier is released, even "as much as six figures...[or] enough to find Hailey".