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article image5-year-old Jhessye Shockley now missing for 3 weeks

By Kevin Fitzgerald     Nov 2, 2011 in Crime
Glendale - A 5-year-old Arizona girl by the name of Jhessye Shockley (some reports spell her first name as "Jahessye") abruptly vanished back on Oct. 11. The case is now being investigated as a possible homicide given the amount of time the girl has been missing.
Jerice Hunter, the child's mother, was busy running errands the day of Jhessye's disappearance. According to KPHO, Hunter claims that just before she was about to leave the house, she instructed Jhessye to play with her older sisters outside while she was away. Hunter stated in a radio interview:
"And I feel really, really remorseful because I should have said things differently and I think about what I could have done differently."
Authorities have not yet named Hunter as a suspect, although an upcoming polygraph test is pending.
Hunter does reportedly have a criminal record of child abuse. In 2005, she and her then husband, George Shockley, were arrested in California and charged with child abuse. Hunter served approximately 4 years in prison before being paroled. George Shockley, Jhessye's father, is still in prison and is a convicted sex offender.
ABC 15 reports that Hunter's other children, including a newborn born just this week, have been taken by Child Protective Services. It is unclear why exactly the children were removed from the home.
There have been no leads in the case so far. Authorities speculate that the child possibly wandered off into the neighborhood and may have been kidnapped.
Neighbors have joined in the search for Jhessye. Candlelight vigils have also been held in hopes of the little girl returning home safely.
There are some who feel that this case has not been given the same media attention as the Lisa Irwin case because of the fact that Jhessye is African-American as opposed to Lisa being Caucasian. Theories have circulated that racial bias could adversely affect the outcome of this case since there is not as much national media attention being given to the search for Jhessye.
Glendale Police are urging anyone with any information regarding the disappearance of Jhessye to contact them at 623-930-HELP (4357).
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