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Thread: Glendale missing girl: 5 year old Jahessye Shockley

  1. #21

    Default Re: Glendale missing girl: 5 year old Jahessye Shockley

    Missing girl's mom arrested on child abuse charges

    GLENDALE, Ariz.—Police on Monday arrested the mother of a missing 5-year-old Arizona girl on child abuse charges "directly related" to the girl, and said they don't believe they'll find the child alive.

    Tweet 2 people Tweeted thisShareThis In a news conference that offered the most detail yet about what investigators think happened to Jhessye Shockley, Glendale police said the girl's mother, Jerice Hunter, was now the investigation's "No. 1 focus."

    Hunter was booked Monday at the Maricopa County jail. A sheriff's spokesman said Hunter was unable to talk to reporters because she had not yet been assigned a housing unit. She was scheduled for her first court appearance Monday night before a court commissioner, but the Arizona Republic reported the hearing was postponed until Tuesday morning after a detective, prosecutors and the commissioner met (

    Hunter, who was present in the hearing room, appeared frustrated as she asked the commissioner, without receiving a response, what she was being charged with, the newspaper reported.

    "They told me they were going to get me, and now they're doing it, like they said," Hunter said after questioning the commissioner.

    Hunter previously told The Associated Press she had nothing to do with Jhessye's disappearance and was highly critical of the department's investigation.

    Glendale police Sgt. Brent Coombs said at the news conference that new information in the past few days led police to serve another search warrant on Hunter's Glendale apartment and arrest her Monday. He wouldn't elaborate.

    He also said Hunter has not cooperated with investigators who have been trying to set up a lie-detector test with her.

    Coombs added the reward offered for information leading to Jhessye has been raised to $25,000.

    "I'd like to make it very clear that this is by no means the end to this investigation," Coombs said. "Our investigators will continue to work diligently to locate Jhessye. This is just a step down that investigative path towards that final conclusion."

    Coombs ended the news conference when a reporter asked him directly whether investigators believe Hunter killed Jhessye, saying: "I am going to have to end those questions right now."

    But Coombs said investigators don't believe Jhessye is alive.

    Investigators spent Monday searching Hunter's apartment, where Jhessye was last seen Oct. 11 after Hunter said she went out for an errand and left the girl in the care of three older siblings. It was the second time police searched the home.

    State Child Protective Services removed Hunter's other children, including a newborn, from the apartment last month but declined to say why. Glendale police said they had no part in the decision to remove the children.

    Police previously said they had no evidence, suspects or promising leads in the case. They also said they interviewed Hunter on several occasions and had no reason to suspect her in Jhessye's disappearance

    Hunter came under scrutiny during the investigation for an October 2005 arrest with her then-husband, George Shockley, on child abuse charges in California. Hunter pleaded no contest to corporal punishment and served about four years in prison before she was released on parole in May 2010.

    Hunter's oldest child, 14 at the time, told police his mother routinely beat the children.

    George Shockley is a convicted sex offender and is still in a California prison. Hunter has told reporters she didn't know about his past until they were arrested and now has nothing to do with him.

    Hunter's mother, Shirley Johnson, has said her daughter was a changed woman after she got out of prison and was a good mother.

    Johnson did not return repeated calls for comment Monday afternoon.

    Hunter was eight months pregnant when Jhessye disappeared. While still pregnant, she demonstrated at the state capitol in Phoenix, saying her daughter's case wasn't getting the attention it deserved because she is black.

    At the Oct. 24 demonstration, Hunter condemned members of the media for focusing too much on her past, and said she had nothing to hide and would gladly submit to a lie-detector test.

    "I have been forthcoming with law enforcement from day one. I let them turn my home into a crime scene hours after I reported that I couldn't find my daughter," she said. "They didn't find anything, but they're holding my children hostage."

    She also criticized the Glendale police department's investigation.

    "We feel that law enforcement is not active in finding Jhessye and that they're more active in persecuting me instead of finding out where she is," Hunter said.

    In the days after Jhessye's disappearance, more than 100 officers and volunteers searched for her in pools, garbage bins and shrubs. They interviewed and searched the homes of registered sex offenders in the area, and stopped at every door to spread news about the missing girl.

    Police also cordoned off an area of a local landfill where garbage from Jhessye's neighborhood would have been taken the day of and day after her disappearance, but have not searched it.

  2. #22

    Default Re: Glendale missing girl: 5 year old Jahessye Shockley

    Missing Glendale girl was kept in closet, beaten, sister said

    The smiling Glendale kindergartner who loved to joke and dreamed of becoming a ballerina looked like a "zombie" before she was reported missing, a sibling told police.

    Five-year-old Jhessye Shockley's older sister said she found her unresponsive, eyes bruised and hair pulled out, inside her mother's closet, according to court records released Tuesday.

    Later, mother Jerice Hunter cleaned the family's apartment and the shoes in her closet, the sister told police.

    Hunter reported Jhessye missing Oct. 11, but the sister told police she hadn't seen her since mid-September.

    On Monday, police arrested Hunter on suspicion of child abuse, and at press time, she was being held on $100,000 bond.

    At an initial-appearance hearing Tuesday, Hunter's eyes widened when the commissioner told her she was the suspect in a homicide. Police have recommended only the child-abuse charge and said she is the focus of their investigation into Jhessye's disappearance.

    But they have issued a warning: They don't expect to find the girl alive.

    For much of Jhessye's life, her mother was in prison.

    Hunter served 3˝ years in California prison after she was convicted of abusing Jhessye's older siblings.

    Jhessye lived with her mother's cousins in Arizona. "You couldn't help but love Jhessye," cousin Lisa Vance said.

    She loved to joke, dress up and pose for pictures.

    Last year, Hunter was released from prison and wanted Jhessye back. She called Phoenix police when the cousins initially resisted.

    Hunter eventually moved to an apartment near 45th and Glendale avenues with Jhessye and three other daughters.

    The cousins' concerns continued, leading them to call Child Protective Services last spring. Glendale police found no signs of abuse, but the department's report noted CPS would continue to work on the case.

    But, according to the other children, now in foster care, Jhessye was abused.

    In one instance, Hunter returned home to find Jhessye watching television with a neighbor boy, an older daughter reportedly told police. The daughter said Hunter called Jhessye a "ho" and took her into her bedroom, where the older girl said she heard Jhessye screaming and crying.

    Police interviews with the other children, ages 6, 9 and 13, were included in the police probable-cause statement, which allowed officers to arrest Hunter.

    The oldest said their mother would keep Jhessye in her bedroom closet, although the document was unclear about exactly when that occurred.

    The girl said she would give Jhessye food and water when their mother left and then put her back in the closet so the 5-year-old wouldn't get into trouble, the document said.

    All three of the children told authorities that they saw Jhessye with bruises or black eyes.

    The oldest said that Jhessye's hair had been pulled out and that she looked like a "zombie." She said "the closet where Jhessye had been looked like a grave and smelled like dead people," the filing said.

    A few days after cleaning the apartment, Hunter called 911, the document said.

    "Hello, hello, hello, I need an officer at my house. I can't find my daughter," Hunter told a dispatcher.

    For weeks, police chased tips that didn't lead to the Glendale girl.

    Hunter's three older girls initially said they saw Jhessye on the day their mother reported her missing, authorities said.

    The oldest now says that Hunter told the children to lie to police and that the last time she saw Jhessye was Sept. 12, the court document said.

    The girl first confided in another child and then to a foster mother.

    The girls' admissions weeks after Jhessye's disappearance aren't surprising. Children can take days and weeks to feel comfortable speaking up, particularly if they have been abused, experts say.

    Detectives can only ask questions and wait.

    Police on Tuesday said they are far from finished investigating Jhessye's disappearance. Police expect to search the city's landfill in coming weeks.

    Hunter's father, Jesse Johnson, continued to defend his daughter.

    "We haven't done anything," he said. "My daughter doesn't have anything to do with this."

    Johnson and the Rev. Jeffrey Metcalff, who gathered outside the Fourth Avenue Jail in Phoenix early Tuesday, said bond money was being collected for the Glendale woman.

    Meanwhile, the cousins who once raised Jhessye are grappling with the latest developments.

    "It's really hard to take this in," Vance said.

    "It's just so hard to believe we don't get to see her beautiful face and watch her grow up to be the ballerina she wanted to be."

    Probable-cause statement details allegations of abuse

    Read more:

  3. #23

    Default Re: Glendale missing girl: 5 year old Jahessye Shockley

    County Attorney: The System Failed Jhessye

    PHOENIX - After nearly two months of dead ends, there's a break in the disappearance of 5-year-old Jhessye Shockley.

    On Monday, Glendale Police Sgt. Brent Coombs announced the arrest of Jerice Hunter for child abuse, directly related to her daughter Jhessye Shockley.

    On Tuesday, Shockley's mother made her first appearance in court. There, she was accused of keeping her daughter in a closet, to which Hunter pleaded not guilty.

    A judge ordered her held on a $100,000 bond.

    On Wednesday, the county's top prosecutor commented on the case, answering questions about why Jhessye and her three siblings were back in their mother's care. County Attorney Bill Montgomery said Wednesday that Child Protective Services failed Jhessye.

    Her children were never legally given back to her, so now with Jhessye's disappearance, a lot of people are wondering how she got them back. Missing for six weeks now, police are losing hope they'll find the 5-year-old alive.

    "We missed the call that should have been made to safeguard Jhessye," said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.

    Montgomery says Jhessye should never have been living with her mother.

    "We know the current system is not working like we want it to," said Montgomery.

    Back in March, someone called Child Protective Services to report Jerice abusing her kids. There were no bruises. The caller just said the children were acting differently. The caller also told CPS that Jerice lost custody of them and was recently released from prison for abusing them.

    Despite this, CPS left the children in the home.

    "A very stark example of why we need to look at our child protection system," said Montgomery.

    Montgomery is in charge of a task force to investigate the way CPS handles child abuse cases. He's also working on changing state law.

    He says CPS in California gave the custody of the children to their grandmother, but as soon as Jerice got out of prison -- the grandmother gave the children back to her.

    "We can certainly ask the rhetorical question, why in the hell would you do that, but from a legal standpoint, there's nothing to prevent her from doing it," he said.

    According to a Glendale Police report from April, when a case worker interviewed the kids at school, they denied being abused by their mom and said they were happy living with her.

    Hunter was convicted on child abuses charges in California in 2005. She spent 3 1/2 years in prison

  4. #24

    Default Re: Glendale missing girl: 5 year old Jahessye Shockley

    Jhessye Shockley Disappearance: Glendale Police Won't Search Landfill For Girl's Remains

    The Glendale Police Department says it no longer plans to search a city landfill for the remains of missing 5-year-old Jhessye Shockley, who was reported missing nearly two months ago.

    Glendale Sergeant Brent Coombs says police no longer expect to find any investigative leads in the landfill, and are no longer preserving an area of the dump they expected to at some point search.

    'From the beginning of the investigation the holding and potential searching of these areas was contingent upon where the facts of the investigation lead our investigators," Coombs says. "It is based on these facts that investigators feel it no longer necessary to hold the areas of the Glendale Landfill."

    Authorities say they don't expect to find the girl alive. Shockley's mother, Jerice Hunter -- who spent four years in a California prison for abusing her other children -- is the "number one focus" of the investigation into the girl's disappearance, according to authorities.

    In the weeks following Shockley's disappearance, Glendale police cordoned off a section of the landfill in anticipation that they might need to search through the debris. Police now say they never searched the landfill and they no longer plan to, despite telling reporters last week a search of the landfill was expected.

    "The release of the areas at the Glendale Landfill should not be seen as a sign that we have found Jhessye, or that we have reduced our investigative efforts," Coombs says. "Our primary goal remains the same: to locate Jhessye Shockley and to bring to justice the person or persons responsible for her disappearance."

    Hunter was arrested last week on child abuse charges. She was released from jail on Monday after the Maricopa County Attorney's Office failed to file charges against her.

    Jerry Cobb, spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, tells New Times the MCAO is awaiting results from an additional investigation into Hunter by the Glendale Police Department before making any charging decisions. He says his office is working closely with Glendale cops.

    Hunter's arrest, Glendale police said at the time, was "directly related" to Shockley's October 11 disappearance.

    According to court records obtained by New Times, two of Jhessye's siblings, who are now in foster care, told their foster parents about some of the abuse Shockley received at the hands of her mother, who scolded us last month for asking whether she hurt her daughter .

    Jhessye's 13-year-old sister told her foster parents that several weeks before Shockley was reported missing, Hunter came home and found her watching TV with a boy from the neighborhood. The girl told her foster parents -- and later police -- that Hunter called Jhessye a "ho" and dragged her into a bedroom, where the sister could hear Jhessye screaming and crying.

    Following the apparent beating, Hunter kept Shockley in a closet. Her sister told police she had to bring the 5-year-old water when Hunter was out so she wouldn't become dehydrated. She would let the her out when Hunter was gone, but quickly put Jhessye back when Hunter got home to keep her from getting in trouble.

    The sister also told investigators that she saw bruises and cuts on Shockley's face and body while she was kept in the closet, and that her eyes were black and only slightly open.

    The 13-year-old also told police that Shockley's hair had been pulled out and that she didn't look alive. She describes her as looking like a "zombie" and that the closet she was kept in smelled like "dead people" and was like a "grave."

    All of the alleged abuse happened weeks before Hunter called police on October 11. The last time anyone saw Jhessye alive was September 22, which was the last time records show her attending school. Her sisters say they never saw Jhessye the day her mother reported her missing, when Hunter told police the older siblings were watching the girl as she ran errands.

    On October 9, Hunter bought a bottle of bleach at a Walgreens. She then cleaned the entire apartment and scrubbed her shoes that were in the closet with Jhessye with bleach, the sister told police.

    Court records also show that Hunter was suspected of child abuse in April, and a report was filed. It's unclear whether Child Protective Services was alerted about the reported abuse.

    Hunter has made sobbing attempts to declare her innocence since the day she reported her daughter missing more than two weeks after she was last seen alive. She's blamed everyone from the media to the Glendale Police Department for not locating her daughter. When we spoke to her, Hunter went ballistic when we suggested that she hurt her daughter.

    "I really think they should take the focus off of me and quit asking people -- wasting time -- if I did something to my daughter," Hunter told us last month. "They should quit holding my babies hostage and trying to get them to say something [about what happened to Jahessye]. [Authorities are] telling me 'your kids aren't saying anything.' It's been 13 days. What do they expect my babies to say that they haven't already said? [CPS] don't wanna hear 'we love our mama, we wanna go home we want our mommy' -- they don't wanna hear that. They won't let me see them because they don't want them running into my arms. They don't wanna hear them scream 'mommy.'"

  5. #25

    Default Re: Glendale missing girl: 5 year old Jahessye Shockley

    They don't want to hear them scream Mommy? It depends in what way, somehow they wouldn't be too happy seeing her, after reading what Jahessye's sister told

  6. #26

    Default Re: Glendale missing girl: 5 year old Jahessye Shockley

    Search For Remains Of 5-Year-Old Jhessye Shockley Begins Today

    At 7:00 a.m. this morning, more than 40 people, including the FBI and the child Abduction Response Team began a search through 6,000 tons of trash in Arizona’s Butterfield Station Landfill in hopes of finding the body of 5-year-old Jhessye Shockley, reports

    The nation has been on high-alert, frantically searching for a trace of little Jhessye Shockley since her reported disappearance on October 11, 2011 from the Phoenix, Arizona suburb of Glendale. Detectives previously stated that they believe the girl has been dead at least that long, murdered and then dumped in a trash bin before being reported missing by her mother, thirty-eight year old Jerice Hunter.

    Glendale police Sgt. Brent Coombs confirmed that Hunter is still the “No. 1 focus.”

    Hunter was arrested on a child abuse charge in November of 2011 related to Jhessye, and at that time, authorities said they doubted they would find the child alive. Prosecutors were hesitant to pursue the child abuse charge because if convicted, they assert that she would not have been able to be charged with her daughter’s murder if, indeed, she was determined to be responsible.

    Hunter told police that she left the house to run errands for her older children, only to return home to find Jhessye gone.

    According to court documents, Jhessye’s older sister said that her mother was lying and that not only had she not seen her sister since September, but that her mother was cleaning her shoes and a closet that she kept her in a few days before reporting her missing.

    “[She] reported that Jhessye’s hair had been pulled out and described Jhessye as not looking alive and that she looked like a zombie,” the document said. “[She] said that the closet where Jhessye had been looked like a grave and smelled like dead people.”

    The teen further claimed that her sister had black eyes, cuts and bruises, and was deprived of food and water while she was in the closet.

    In October 2005, Hunter was arrested with her then-husband, George Shockley, on child abuse charges. She pleaded “no contest” to corporal punishment, serving four years in prison before being released for parole in May 2010. Shockley is a registered sex-offender and remains in a California prison.

    Child welfare workers removed all of Hunter’s other children from the home after little Jhessye was reported missing, and to date, Hunter refuses to submit to a lie-detector test.

    “Our agency’s hope is that we are successful in finding Jhessye’s remains, allowing her a proper internment, and ultimately bringing to justice the person or persons responsible for her death,” Coombs said in a statement, according to CBS.

    Hunter’s attorney, Scott Maasen, has questioned the length of time that it has taken the police to begin the search:

    “They said almost two months ago they were possibly going to search the landfill,” Maasen said. “It begs the question, why has there been a delay for so long?”

    Butterfield Station Landfill is approximately 180 feet by 200 feet and more than 20 feet deep and authorities claim they spent those months preparing and assessing the situation, according to

    “There’s such a scientific method behind trying to pinpoint a location within a particular cell within that landfill. It’s a very difficult thing to do,” Coombs said. “The reason [we've taken] such a long time is we wanted to be as confident as we can be prior to starting any operation that we’re going to do the very best job we can.”

    Though questions continue to mount over the length of time that has been wasted while little Jhessye remains missing, police Chief Steve Conrad says that justice for the little girl is his utmost priority:

    “We want nothing more than to find Jhessye and hold the person who is responsible for her death accountable,” police Chief Steve Conrad said, according to CBS-5. “I feel we owe that to her, her family and the community.”

  7. #27

    Default Re: Glendale missing girl: 5 year old Jahessye Shockley

    New information in the search for Jhessye Shockley

    GLENDALE, AZ - Glendale police say they have reached an area they call the “high probability zone” in their search for 5-year-old Jhessye Shockley at a landfill south of the Valley.

    Wednesday was the third day of the search at the Butterfield Landfill near Mobile, Arizona.

    It’s an area where officers have found newspapers and other paperwork from the day Jhessye went missing nearly four months ago.

    ABC15 sources also say officers might not be looking for a body exactly, but a container that may be hiding a body.

    This could be anything from a particular type of garbage bag to a suitcase

    Read more:

  8. #28

    Default Re: Glendale missing girl: 5 year old Jahessye Shockley

    Search for Shockley in landfill reaches one week

    Investigators have been searching for Jhessye Shockley's body since Monday, and workers have already gone through hundreds of tons of trash, according to Tracey Breeden of the Glendale Police Department.

    "Our operation is going really smooth and we are where we projected we would be at this point. We have refined what we're doing and we're becoming more efficient," Breeden said.

    Trash and documents from the area where they believe Jhessye's body was dumped in Tempe have already been found, according to Breeden.

    "We believe we're currently searching in the most probable area of the landfill for locating Jhessye's remains," Breeden said.

    Workers on the scene at the Butterfield landfill are searching through a 36,000 square foot area that has a total of 6,000 tons of trash.

    "We're searching through small sections at a time of our larger area of interest," Breeden said.

    The search will last for up to six weeks. Searchers will be working eight hours per day, five days per week.

    Great job! I hope they will find her.

  9. #29

    Default Re: Glendale missing girl: 5 year old Jahessye Shockley

    Teams in Shockley landfill search pick up the pace .

    MOBILE, Ariz. -- After two weeks of sifting through tons of garbage at the Butterfield Station Landfill, Glendale police say the search teams are getting more efficient.

    The landfill search for the body of Jhessye Shockley, the 5-year-old girl who was reported missing by her mother on Oct. 11, began on Feb. 6 after weeks of planning.

    While they have not turned up any significant evidence, police are confident that Jhessye's body is in the landfill. When they first started, the search teams were getting through 50 tons of trash each day. Now that they've settled into the search, they're up to 100 tons per day.

    Searchers have managed to keep up that pace despite recent winds in the area.

    "It makes things a little more difficult because debris begins to pick and move," Glendale Police Sgt. Brent Coombs explained. "We don't want to lose any of that so we have to slow operations down a little to maintain what he have, make sure that we go through everything and nothing is missed."

    Coombs said police are certain that they are looking in the right area at the landfill, but that section is about 20 feet deep and contained about 6,000 tons of trash. The search is expected to go on for several more weeks.

    "As long as it takes for us to get through every last bit of that trash in that area is as long as we will be out there,” Coombs said on the first day of the search. "It's extremely important to investigators to find those remains because no 5-year old-should be left in a landfill."

    Although Jhessye's mother, Jerice Hunter, reported the little girl on missing on Oct. 11, investigators believe the child had been killed and her body placed in a Tempe trash bin before then. Trash from that Tempe location is taken to the WMI Butterfield Station Landfill in Mobile, which is about an hour southwest of Phoenix.

    Officers arrested Hunter on Nov. 21, but later released her when the County Attorney's Office decided it needed more evidence to move forward with any potential prosecution. She has not been charged in connection with the case, but Glendale detectives say she is the focus of their investigation.

    Hunter, who served time for child abuse in California, has maintained her innocence and her lawyer has said repeatedly that police have no evidence against his client.

    The Glendale Police Department said it will be adding more search crews when the operation picks up on Tuesday.

  10. #30

    Default Re: Glendale missing girl: 5 year old Jahessye Shockley

    Close call in Shockley search at landfill south of Phoenix

    PHOENIX -- Investigators had a close call Friday in the search for missing 5-year-old Jhessye Shockley.

    Searchers temporarily halted operations in the morning after finding bones in the landfill.

    Tracey Breeden with the Glendale Police Department says they have a protocol for things like this, "We take digital photos of it and we send it to the MEO's office to be examined by a forensic anthropologist. Those pictures were evaluated and it was determined that they were animal remains, so our operations were continued."

    Breeden also said that they had a few new searchers at the landfill. MCSO provided the department with four cadaver dogs and handlers to go out to the landfill and evaluate how the dogs will work in a landfill situation to find out if they would be effective in assisting in their search.

    "They came out [Friday] and we will be looking at that and we should know by next week whether or not they will team with us and be assisting in the landfill search," Breeden said.

    She also says that searchers will be ramping up their personnel work hours starting Monday, moving from 10 hour days to 11-and-a-half.

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