Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"I've been forthcoming w/law enforcement from day one."

Mother Of Missing Girl Spent Years In Prison for Child Abuse Now Charged With Child's Murder
Re-printed from a story at Fox News on November 21st 2011

Jerice Hunter, mother of a missing Arizona girl, spent years in prison for severe acts of Child Abuse is now under arrest. Video courtesy of WICD ABC 15.

GLENDALE AZ. - Police said today that they've arrested the mother of a missing 5-year-old Arizona girl on child abuse charges.

On November 21st 2011 Jerice Hunter was arrested on child abuse charges "directly related to Jhessye," Glendale Police Sgt. Brent Coombs said. Jhessye (JES'-ee) Shockley has been missing since October 11th 2011.

Coombs said Monday investigators don't believe they'll find the girl alive and that Hunter "...is our Number One focus."

A 13-year-old sibling of the missing girl has told local police that the little girl's hair had been pulled out and that she didn't look alive the last time she was seen inside the residence. The sibling describes Jhessye as looking like a "zombie" and that the closet she was kept in smelled like "dead people" and was like a "grave."

The alleged abuse of Jhessye happened weeks before Hunter called police on October 11. The last time anyone saw the girl alive was on September 22nd 2011 which was the last time records show her attending school.

Hunter's apartment was surrounded by police tape in late November as investigators in white jumpsuits searched inside. Police declined to say what investigators were doing.

Police have said they previously believed the girl had wandered from her Glendale apartment while Hunter was running an errand. The girl's three older siblings were the last to see her.

Police have repeatedly said they had no evidence, suspects or promising leads.

State Child Protective Services removed Hunter's four other children, including a newborn, from her home last month but declined to say why, and police said they had no involvement in the decision to take them away.

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

AP Photo/Deidre Hamill, PoolHunter's oldest child, 14 at the time, told police that 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, said her daughter is a changed woman since she got out of prison and is a good mother to her children.

Jerice Hunter was eight months pregnant at the time of Jhessye's disappearance. 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 October 24th demonstration, Hunter condemned members of the media for focusing too much on her past and said she had nothing to hide.

"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 following 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.

This missing person's case appears to be taking a bizarre turn as in the case of Andrea Yates of Texas or Susan Smith, a South Carolina woman who drowned her own children and then fed police a fabricated story and as in the notorious murder of 3-year-old Marcus Fiesel in Ohio in 2007 when two foster parents murdered a mentally retarded boy and then participated in weeks long searches for the boy after they had already burned his remains.

If convicted Jerice Hunter will have only been out of prison for 1 year and 5 months before she committed another crime against a child - this time Murder.

Fox News, Missing Arizona Girl's Mom Arrested
Washington Post, Police in suburban Phoenix arrest mother of missing 5-year-old girl
WICD ABC 15, Mother of missing 5-year-old has dark criminal history
Phoenix New Times, Jhessye Shockley Not Likely to Be Found Alive
Associated Press, Hunter Makes First Court Appearance Case Of Missing Girl