By Jim Forsyth
SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) - The FBI has joined local police in west Texas to investigate human remains found in a remote area not far from the home where 13-year-old middle school cheerleader Hailey Dunn was last seen more than a year ago.
"The FBI's Evidence Response Team is out there on scene," FBI spokeswoman Lydia Maese said on Wednesday. "We are assisting the local police departments out there, coordinating at this time with the local police."
The remains were found Tuesday at a former oilfield storage site at the airport in Big Spring, just off Interstate 20 about 40 miles from Colorado City, where the girl disappeared on December 27, 2010.
Big Spring Police said in a statement that the remains are human but the gender of the dead person is unknown.
"The remains appear to have been there for a long period of time," the statement said.
At the time of her disappearance, police named Dunn's mother's then-boyfriend, Shawn Adkins, as a person of interest in the case. No criminal charges were ever filed.
So far, no law enforcement officer has connected the body to Dunn, and the Texas Rangers declined to make that connection on Wednesday.
"The Texas Rangers are aware of, and are monitoring, the situation," spokesman Tom Vinger said. "Beyond that we have no further comment."
The disappearance of the girl drew widespread attention in Texas, where billboards still can be seen that list reward information and show Dunn wearing her cheerleading outfit.
"I want her to be found, but we still need some closure just to get on with everything," Haley's grandmother Connie Jones told KTAB television.
Adkins told reporters after the girl disappeared that he was "clueless" about why the girl would have run away and he hoped "that she makes it home safe and sound."
(Editing by Corrie MacLaggan and Paul Thomasch)