Here is a short excert from "A Voice From Hailey: How Nancy Grace Became a Murder Victim's Voice" due out this Fall.
Connie Jones, Clint’s mother and Hailey’s grandmother, said she believed Hailey was raped by Shawn Adkins and that Billie is covering for him. She told this to a national audience, via The Nancy Grace Show live, while Billie listened in.
In this crazy circus, what was Billie’s reaction to this stupendous assertion?
Would she shout it down and claim it to be ridiculous and something she would never have done?
Billie Dunn's only response: why didn't someone tell her this?
She didn’t deny the allegation against her: that she was covering for Shawn.
She did not even battle the allegation that Shawn had raped Hailey and that this had taken place under her own roof, in her own home, while she, Billie, was supposed to be protecting Hailey. No, Billie Jean did not address the allegations, including that Hailey was dead in order to be silenced from speaking.
Billie simply asked why she had not heard this before the show. Keep in mind: the information about the thousands and thousands of pornographic and deviant images (including child pornography) was not yet know at this airing:
GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us. Bombshell tonight. A horrific scenario is emerging. Hailey`s grandmother reveals her fear, her real fear that Mommy`s live-in boyfriend molested 13-year-old Hailey, then murdered her when she threatened to tell. And as we go to air, police plan a dig underneath Hailey`s home.
I want to go straight out to you, ladies. I want to thank you for being with us. Everyone, take a look at the photos...
BILLIE DUNN: Thank you.
GRACE: ... of Hailey that we are showing you. The tip line, 325-728- 5294. Many people believe this girl could still be alive.
With us, Billie Dunn and Connie Jones. I want to go first to Connie Jones. This is Hailey`s grandmother. Ms. Jones, thank you for being with us. I understand that it wasn`t that long ago you tried to get custody, relatives tried to get custody away from Mommy? You wanted Hailey out of that home, is that correct?
Connie Jones attempted to get custody of Hailey away from Billie Dunn, via Clint, though Clint continued his descent into a marijuana haze that would leave Hailey with no one to turn to in the family, and only a trusted teacher who could do little. Hailey would not want mom to get in trouble, and would not want to have child protective services called again. No, she could not talk to her teacher, but, perhaps, if she just hinted to her grandmother, maybe, just maybe, she would ask Hailey what was going on...
CONNIE JONES, HAILEY`S PATERNAL GRANDMOTHER: Yes, ma`am. That was last January.
GRACE: What happened?
JONES: Well, I had went on vacation, and when I come back, Clint had said that he had Hailey and then Billie that he ended up getting her back and everything. And I didn`t even know any of this was going on until I came back.
GRACE: You didn`t know what was going on?
This would not be an easy interview for Nancy, and one in which the frustration quickly rose to the surface. Nancy, both prosecutor and mother, would see both callings stifled.
JONES: No, ma`am. All I know is that Clint tried to take her because Hailey wanted to stay with Clint. And wanted her back
GRACE: Ms. Jones -- Ms. Jones, your theory that the live-in boyfriend sexually attacked the little girl and that he killed her when she threatened to tell -- what do you base that on?
Nancy went to the heart of the matter. It is unthinkable to the mother of twins that a mother would cover up such a monstrosity, but to the prosecutor, she knows it happens.
JONES: Because Hailey had told me him been living there in the past that he would walk around at nighttime, and the hall light would be on, and she could see his shadow at her door, at the foot of the door. She could see his legs at the foot of the door, just at her door, just standing there. And it scared her. And I don`t know, things just don`t add up that Monday. Why would he leave his job? He didn`t quit, he just left his job.
This is actually a very sad statement; with a sadness that any professional interviewer of children immediately recognizes.
First,there is nothing in it to suggest that she is misquoting Hailey or being deceptive about what Hailey told her. Hailey told her she was afraid of Shawn.
Yet, there is something terribly missing in this statement that becomes visible in the lens of Statement Analysis.
In the years of interviewing children, I learned what some parents know, and what all child protective services social workers know: kids often tell what happened, in bits and pieces, especially when it comes to sexual abuse. It is as if they are hinting and waiting for us to ask them questions to give them "permission" to tell, or even "demand" them to tell, what they have been threatened fiercely over, to not tell.
I once interviewed a girl about Hailey’s age regarding sexual abuse. The report came in about possible sexual abuse from a guidance counselor who felt that the child was hinting at it, but would not disclose due to fear of mother's boyfriend, as well as fear of getting her own mother in trouble. This is quite common.
The child is saddled with a terrible secret of what has been done to her, coupled with fear because she loves her mother, but also terror from the threats of the boyfriend who has promised retribution to fall, not upon the child so much, but upon the child's own mother. Child molesters are highly manipulative and clever. The child feels a burden which she wishes to unload, while feeling a constraint that says "You do not have a voice. You cannot speak." The child may think to herself: "I must get someone else to say it, so I won't be blamed" and hints or gives small portions of information in hopes of being told, in authoritative means, to disclose.
The child I interviewed only gave “linguistic indicators” that she was sexually abused, while never coming out and speaking of any actual contact.
Her behavior spoke loudly to teachers, which included new and unpredictable mood swings, a severe drop in grades, a newly seen disrespectful tone, and a refusal to shower or practice hygiene. It was, as it appeared, that she was trying to make herself as "unattractive" to her mother's live in boyfriend as possible. She disclosed no contact, but it was with the training that I recognized the linguistic indicators of abuse, and this would guide me.
“Linguistic indicators” of sexual abuse are remarkably similar to behavioral patterns that teachers, doctors and social workers are familiar with.
A little boy comes to school and needs prompting to wash his hands, yet on this day, he needs no prompt: he washes his hands ever hour.
The teacher recognizes this change in behavior, and its relation to water and is concerned that, perhaps, he has experienced sexual abuse.
It is similar in language.
We note the inclusion of “water” in statements as well as some other elements that are related to sexual abuse: specifically, “lights” and “doors” found within statements of children who are sexually abused, or even in adults who experienced sexual abuse in childhood.
It makes sense.
The “opening of a door” may be deeply entrenched into the mind of the child as it was the beginning of the horror of sexual abuse, as was the turning on or off of a light. As the child thinks of the abuse, these figures come into their language.
As Connie Jones was quoting Hailey, note the two elements of possible sexual abuse in her language: she related Shawn outside her “door” and the “light” on in the hallway, casting his shadow.
In the young teen I interviewed she would not disclose sexual abuse, even though “doors” and “lights” (and blankets, that is, ‘coverings’) were in her words. This is a typical pattern with kids. They often give us “a” but want us to know “b” and “c” and even “d”, though they feel too much shame or embarrassment.
I sensed this was the case with the young girl and I finally said to her, “I can’t help you if you won’t let me.”
I then handed her my notebook and pen and said, “You interview me!” which, she was excited over. She began with my name, my age, what I liked and then asked me if I liked people putting their hands on me.
If Hailey went to her grandmother, Connie, and felt shame, embarrassment, and very likely fear (fear of disclosure), it would make sense that Hailey would only give out a portion of information, wanting her grandmother to “connect the dots” and get to the truth.
Sadly, this was missed by Nancy at this point. She had on her “prosecutor’s hat”, meaning, she needed something she could strongly assert, and she could not have said, “Connie, why didn’t you ask Hailey what she was trying to tell you!?” as it would have meant nothing but more pain to the grandmother and would not bring voice to Hailey.
This powerful introduction by Hailey, which included "doors" and "lights" may have been Hailey trying to get her grandmother to "make her talk" and tell her about the videos, the X Box, and all that Shawn had been doing and saying, and push her grandmother into assuring her that her mother would not be in trouble if she told. Readers of the Statement Analysis blog had been long familiar with such linguistic indicators from previous cases, and knew that Hailey, just 13, likely filled with both shame (as victims justly feel) and fear from Shawn's towering appearance and threats, wanted to tell all, but perhaps even feared for her own father's life, since Shawn, especially with his creep masks, had made such serious threats against them before that mom had even called the police...
(to be continued).