Colorado City, Texas32.38904 -100.8625
COLORADO CITY, Texas (AP) — The mother of a 13-year-old girl from West Texas reported missing nearly three months ago was arrested Thursday night and charged with obstructing justice, officials said.
Billie Jean Dunn, 33, was picked up by deputies at her Colorado City home, said Pete Kampfer, Colorado City city manager who has served as a police spokesman during the search for Dunn's daughter, middle school cheerleader Hailey Darlene Dunn.
Kampfer referred further questions to the Mitchell County Jail, where officials said Dunn was booked on misdemeanor charges of hindering apprehension and prosecution, possession of dangerous drugs and obstructing justice.
Jail officials could not elaborate on the charges, and a message left for Mitchell County Sheriff Patrick Toombs was not returned.
Dunn, who reported her daughter missing on Dec. 28, is scheduled to appear in court on Friday morning. She does not yet have an attorney, according to jail officials, and a message on her cell phone said her voicemail box was full. Her father did not immediately return a message left Thursday night.
The woman's former live-in boyfriend, Shawn Adkins, was previously named a person of interest in the case. He told police he last saw Hailey a day earlier when she told him she was going to her father's home nearby and then on to spend the night at a friend's home. She did neither. Billie Dunn said she last saw Hailey at home the night of Dec. 26.
Both Adkins and Billie Dunn have denied having any involvement in the girl's disappearance. Jail officials said Thursday night that Adkins had not been arrested, and Adkins has no listed telephone number. He had previously told The Associated Press that he would "never ever do anything to harm Hailey."
Since Hailey disappeared, more than 100 billboards featuring her picture, information about the case and a law enforcement phone number have been set up along interstates in West Texas and other states. Investigators and volunteers conducted extensive searches in surrounding fields and landfills.
Her disappearance brought anguish to Colorado City, a town of 4,500 people about 240 miles west of Dallas. Volunteers who helped in the search trekked through fields covered with shrubs and small trees, searching landfills and retracing steps already taken by police. Candlelight vigils have been held and fliers with Hailey's photo have been taped across the city.
Friends and family told investigators it was out of character for Hailey to leave for an extended time without checking in with her mother. If she had planned to stay overnight at a friend's house, Hailey left without her toothbrush, hairbrush and contact lens solution. Cash, a new iPod, and a jacket that friends said she would not leave home without were still in her room.
The girl is described as white, standing 5-foot-1, weighing 120 pounds, with hazel eyes and brown hair with blondish streaks. There is a $15,000 reward for information leading to the teen.