By Jim Forsyth
SAN ANTONIO, March 24 (Reuters) - Human remains found in a West Texas town this week were those of a male, dashing speculation that the disappearance of 13-year-old cheerleader Hailey Dunn had been solved and shifting the focus to four area males listed as missing, police said.
The remains were found Tuesday near the Big Spring city airport in an area known as Desert Tanks, about 40 miles from Dunn's home in Colorado City.
The bones were found about a mile from the home of the mother of Hailey's mother's boyfriend, who had been named as a 'person of interest' in the case, but has never been charged.
"The remains appear to have been here for a long period of time," Big Spring police said in a statement.
Dunn vanished from her home three days after Christmas in 2010 touching off a high profile missing child case in Texas.
Billboards featuring the smiling 13 year old wearing her cheerleader's uniform and offering a reward for information on her whereabouts are still standing across Texas.
Detectives say nothing more is known about the possible identity of the bones, which are being autopsied in Fort Worth.
They hope forensic tests will provide more details, such as the approximate age of the individual and how long the bones had been buried at the site.
The four cases involving missing males include one report that dates back to 1982, officials said.
Investigators also have said they hope the discovery of the remains, which placed her disappearance back into the news, will prompt new leads in Dunn's case. (Reporting by Jim Forsyth; Editing by David Bailey)
PHOTOS FROM HAILEY DUNN CASE
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements.Learn more