There has not been a breakthrough in the case of missing Colorado City teen Hailey Dunn, contrary to what some media outlets may be leading people to believe, investigators say.
According to a letter written by Odessa inmate Sonja Renee Callahan, an unidentified teenage girl was taken to Odessa as a hostage for a drug debt a family member owed. The letter said the girl died of an accidental drug overdose after her captors tried to sedate her. Events detailed in the letter reportedly occurred shortly after Hailey Dunn went missing in December 2010.
The letter claimed the teen’s body was buried near Odessa.
Information provided in Callahan’s letter has not proven fruitful thus far for Dunn case investigators.
"There has been nothing founded out of this letter at this time. There has been multiple, multiple interviews done, but there has been nothing founded or substantiated," said Kelsey Alexander-Rivera, lead investigator on the case for Colorado City’s police department.
"There is nothing that will be a major break in the case until it brings us one step closer to finding Hailey and – at this moment in time – it [the letter] has not done that."
Alexander-Rivera said investigators have interviewed Callahan and have visited the alleged location of the teenage girl's body but have found nothing.
She and Chief of Police Roy “Tinker” Owens said their agency hasn’t been able to confirm whether Callahan was talking about Hailey Dunn in the letter, as it does not mention her name.
The officials declined to say how close the investigation into the woman’s claims was to being completed, choosing only to say the probe is continuing.
Owens said Hailey's disappearance took a heavy toll on the Colorado City community and that rumors and hearsay make it even more difficult. He asked that the community be patient and trust in the investigators.
"There's not a day (that) goes by in this department that we don't talk about this case in some form or fashion and there's probably not a week (that) goes by that we don't get some type of information in on it," Owens said. "At the end of the day, that flicker of hope is still there that Hailey is going to come through the door someday.”
He said Shawn Adkins – the man Hailey Dunn’s mother Billie Jean was dating when Hailey went missing – remains the “Person of Interest” in the case. Adkins is believed to be the last person to have seen the 13-year-old Hailey, a Colorado Middle School student.
Adkins reported that Hailey told him on Dec. 27, 2010, that she was going to spend the night with a friend, but she never made it to the friend's house. She was reported missing the next day after her mother discovered she didn't spend the night there.
In addition to garnering national news media attention, including from controversial TV talk show host Nancy Grace, volunteers have routinely searched for Hailey Dunn’s body. Houston private investigator Mac Sanford recently offered pro bono help.
Mitchell County Sheriff Patrick Toombs has said his office, Colorado City police, the FBI, the 32nd Judicial District Attorney's Office and Texas Rangers have been looking into the contents of the letter since it was obtained nearly two months ago.
Meanwhile, Owens said the Dunn case remains a top priority for his department – “if not the top case.”