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Heavy hearts: Volunteers keep searching for Hailey Dunn

January 18, 2011

Searchers from Big Spring, Coahoma and other Howard County communities turned their attention Monday morning to northern Highway 350 in the search for 13-year-old Hailey Darlene Dunn, as the girl's recent disappearance continues to weigh heavy on the minds of most West Texans.

Heather Maddox of Big Spring and DeNeise Coates of Coahoma — joined by other area volunteers — traveled the road between Ira and Big Spring Monday, according to Maddox.

“Everywhere we search, that's just one more place we know she's not,” Maddox said. “We're searching everything we can think of, from bar ditches to fields, abandoned buildings, anywhere we feel she could be. We've been meeting each morning at the Dairy Queen in Colorado City to catch up with other volunteers, and they have just been a world of help. People have really come together to help with this search.”

Dunn was last seen walking from her home in northern Colorado City to a friend's house about 1 p.m. Monday, Dec. 27. According to police reports, the last person to see her was her mother's live-in boyfriend, Shawn Adkins, who told investigators the young girl told him she was going to walk to her father's house a block away, then spend the night with a friend.

And while Maddox and Coates try to keep a smile on their faces, they admit it gets harder with each passing day Dunn isn't found.

“We're all sleep deprived and tired,” an emotional Maddox said. “Emotions have been very high among the volunteers searching for Hailey. DeNeise and I have really had to lean on one another just to be able to keep our feet moving. However, you just keep putting one foot in front of another and keep going.”

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