COLORADO CITY, TX (KWES) - Clint Dunn said he felt a flicker of hope this week - the first sign of light after "five years in a dark tunnel" - upon learning of renewed efforts to investigate his daughter's unsolved murder.
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) launched a public awareness program to generate new leads in cold cases across the state and issued a statement Wednesday asking for the public's help in solving Hailey Dunn's case.
"Something's about to happen," her father told NewsWest 9 in an exclusive interview. "I can feel it. I think we'll finally get answers."
Hailey left her mother's Colorado City house on December 27, 2010 to go to a friend's home, he said.
She never arrived and was reported missing to local authorities the following day. Investigators found her remains more than two years later near Lake J. B. Thomas in Scurry County.
Christmas has become a "painful reminder" of her disappearance, Clint said.
"It gets harder every year," he told NewsWest 9. "The holidays are bad... but August is the worst. That's Hailey's birthday."
She would have turned 18 this year.
Clint said her dream had been to attend Duke University - or pursue a mixed martial arts career.
"She would probably be doing both right now," he said with a laugh. "She had so many dreams and I always told her she could do or be anything she wanted... I'm proud of everything she achieved in 13 years."
Hailey was an eighth grader at Colorado City Middle School when she disappeared in 2010. The "energetic, thrill-seeking" teenager was active on several sports teams, a member of the cheerleading squad and a saxophonist in her school band, Clint said.
"It's been five years of darkness [since her disappearance]," her father said. "I want answers... I want [her killer] behind bars."
The Texas Ranger Unsolved Crimes Investigation Team was established to assist law enforcement agencies statewide with unsolved murders, DPS officials said.
In addition, the Texas Rangers' Unsolved Homicides webpage was created to "renew public interest" in cold cases, according to a DPS press release issued Wednesday.