Charges dropped against Shawn Adkins in Hailey Dunn murder case

Posted at 10:00 AM, June 28, 2023 and last updated 12:34 PM, June 28, 2023


COLORADO CITY, Texas (Court TV)  — A Texas man once accused of murdering his girlfriend’s daughter has been released from jail after charges were dropped.

Shawn Adkins was arrested in June 2021 for the murder of 13-year-old Hailey Dunn. The teenager “was last seen leaving her mother’s house on December 27, 2010,” according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. Dunn’s remains were found near a lake more than 20 miles away on March 16, 2013.

hailey dunn and shawn adkins combo image

(L) Hailey Dunn, (R) Shawn Adkins (Texas Dept. of Public Safety)

At the time of Dunn’s disappearance, Adkins was dating the teen’s mother, said authorities.

Adkins was released from jail on Tuesday after prosecutors filed a motion to dismiss prosecution without prejudice, which means they can charge Adkins again.

The motion states, “The prosecution views Shawn Casey Adkins as the primary suspect in the Hailey Dunn murder on or about December 27, 2010, in Mitchell County, Texas. However, additional work must be done before the case can proceed to a jury trial.”

Prosecutors cite the need for further forensic testing in the motion, stating, “There is no known eyewitness to Hailey Dunn’s murder. Nor is there any known current forensic science evidence directly linking Shawn Adkins to her murder.”

The motion references soil analysis that was done on a pair of work boots belonging to Adkins. An initial test, using a method known as Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS), “concluded that soil samples obtained from (Adkins’) boots had a high degree of chemical similarity with soil samples collected from the remains site.” The FBI Crime Laboratory ultimately advised authorities that NIRS is not an acceptable testing methodology.

The motion also references cell phone data and eyewitness accounts from the day Dunn was last seen that indicates Adkins would’ve only had a two hour window alone with Dunn:

“This means that (Adkins) would have had to kill her, clean up any blood and other incriminating evidence in the home, and hidden her body in a relatively short amount of time. While this is not impossible, it presents additional challenges given the preceding issues.”

The motion was filed June 26. Adkins was released the following day.

Court TV reached out to Adkins’ attorney and the District Attorney for comment. Adkins’ attorney, Matt Powell, told Court TV, “At the time, we do not have a comment.”