Close
Bonneville Phoenix Network
 KTAR News
 Arizona Sports
Menu
Social
Latest News

Timeline of Jhessye Shockley's disappearance

Jhessye Shockley, a 5-year-old girl from Glendale, went missing on Oct. 11, 2011. (Facebook)

Jhessye Shockley, a 5-year-old girl from Glendale, Arizona, went missing on Oct. 11, 2011 and police have been searching for her ever since.

Her mother, Jerice Hunter, was arrested and charged in the murder of her daughter in 2012. A jury found Hunter guilty of first-degree murder and related child-abuse charges after just two hours of deliberations.

While police suspect Hunter disposed of Jhessye's body in a trash can, she has never been found and it is still unknown how the girl disappeared.

Here is a timeline of all of the events in this tragic story.


Oct. 11, 2011 -- Jhessye Shockley went missing

A massive effort is launched the morning after Jhessye's disappearance, including an Amber Alert, to help police find the 5-year-old girl. Initially, she was thought to have wandered away from her apartment near Glendale and 45th avenues after Hunter called police around 5 p.m. that night. Hunter claimed to have left Jhessye at home with her older siblings while she ran errands.

Oct. 14, 2011 -- Jerice Hunter found to have a criminal history

Hunter was found to have a history of child abuse in California, for which she was sentenced to time in prison. Hunter was pregnant with Jhessye shortly before serving three years in prison. Child Protective Services took Hunter's three other children into custody the day after Jhessye went missing.

Oct. 18, 2011 -- Police worked for new leads

Police said there has been no evidence of an accident or kidnapping. All who have been in contact with Jhessye are considered to be "persons of interest," determining those closest to her may have information pertaining to her disappearance.

Oct. 19, 2011 -- Police offered reward for information

Authorities announce a $11,000 reward for information leading to Shockley. They also said they had no leads in the case.

Oct. 20, 2011 -- Jhessye's grandmother pleaded for attention

As Jhessye's grandmother, Shirley Johnson, rankled for more media and police attention, Mahogany Hightower, a cousin of Shockley's, came forward to say they believed she was being abused in her mother's home.

Oct. 24, 2011 -- Family, police at odds over search efforts

Jhessye's family argued that police have not done their best to find the girl by focusing too heavily on Hunter's criminal history. The family also protested near the state capitol in purple bows, Jhessye's favorite color.

Nov. 1, 2011 -- Homicide detective took over case

In addition to missing-person and child-crimes detectives, a homicide detective was added to Jhessye's case. That same day, Hunter gave birth to another child, who was shortly taken into CPS custody after birth.

Nov. 18, 2011 -- Jhessye's grandmother said police efforts were 'inadequate'

Johnson claimed Glendale Police stopped looking for her granddaughter just two days after she went missing.

Nov. 21, 2011 -- Hunter arrested for child abuse

After authorities stated they did not expect to find Jhessye alive, Hunter was arrested on charges of child abuse. Sgt. Brent Coombs, a Glendale Police spokesman, said new information led police to search Hunter's house for the second time since Jhessye's disappearance. Hunter's father publicly maintained that she had done nothing wrong and was being treated unfairly.

Nov. 22, 2011 -- Hunter made court appearance

While Hunter plead not guilty in her court appearance, investigators continued to investigate Jhessye's disappearance as a murder case. After Hunter's appearance, documents stating Hunter had ordered her other children to lie about the treatment of their younger sister were released. Jhessye's siblings stated she was often found with black eyes and bruises and was kept in their mother's closet.

Nov. 28, 2011 -- Hunter was released from jail

Just a week after Hunter was arrested on suspicion of child abuse, police let her walk free. Glendale Police continued their investigation as a homicide before formally charging her with murder. In order to avoid double jeopardy, police were obliged to grant her release in order to possibly charge her with felony murder.

Nov. 30, 2011 -- Family hired attorney for Hunter

Scottsdale criminal defense attorney Scott Maasen was hired by Hunter's friends and family members to defend her.

Dec. 1, 2011 -- Police released area of landfill

Glendale Police released an area of landfill held in relation to Jhessye's disappearance -- they did not say why.

Dec. 5, 2011 -- Documents revealed search warrant was for murder

Documents revealed when police searched Hunter's home, they were looking for evidence of a murder. The search warrant said police were looking for items that Hunter could have used to hurt her daughter.

Dec. 14, 2011 -- Prosecutor said Jhessye has not been forgotten

A prosecutor assured the public that a missing Glendale girl was not being forgotten and that authorities were pressing their investigation.

Dec. 21, 2011 -- Glendale Police inferred body of missing 5-year-old Jhessye was placed in trash

The Glendale Police Department concluded that Jhessye's body was placed in a trash receptacle in Tempe, prior to her being reported missing on Oct. 11, 2011. They started referring to the investigation as "an active homicide investigation."

Jan. 10, 2012 -- Glendale police announced they would search another landfill for Jhessye's body

The search is expected to take several weeks. Police still believe Hunter is their primary suspect and that she dumped her daughter's body before calling police to report her missing.

Feb. 6, 2012 -- Police began search of Arizona landfill for Jhessye's body

Police have started methodically searching a landfill south of Phoenix for the body of a 5-year-old Arizona girl whom has been missing for more than four months and who authorities now believe is dead.

June 1, 2012 -- Police said landfill search was 75 percent complete

The landfill search for Jhessye's body was 75 percent complete and was expected to be completed by the end of June. Despite finding no evidence of the little girl, police were still hopeful that they would recover her body.

June 27, 2012 -- Police called off landfill search

The search for a missing Glendale girl at the Butterfield Station Landfill south of Phoenix came to an end. After months of searching, Glendale Police said they were unable to find evidence directly connected to Jhessye's death. Police are still expected to pursue a case against Hunter.

Sept. 6, 2012 -- Hunter arrested on murder and child abuse charges

Hunter was arrested on charges of first-degree murder and child abuse of her 5-year-old daughter. The formal arrest for murder comes nearly a year after Jhessye's disappearance, although her body has never been found.

Sept. 17, 2012 -- Hunter plead not guilty to murder and child abuse charges

Hunter plead not guilty to charges of first-degree murder and child abuse in the disappearance of her 5-year-old daughter after an 11-month-long investigation.

Sept. 17, 2012 -- Witness stated Hunter disposed of suitcase

In the days prior to Jhessye's disappearance, Hunter disposed of a "large, heavy and foul-smelling suitcase," according to a witness statement. An unidentified woman claimed she gave Hunter a ride to a Tempe apartment complex several days before her daughter went missing.

March 6, 2013 -- Family members file notice of claim in Jhessye's death

Attorney Dwane Cates filed a $3 million notice of claim against the state of Arizona, Child Protective Services and Glendale Police Department on allegations of "gross" negligence in the death of 5-year-old Jhessye. The claim, the first step toward a lawsuit, was filed on behalf of three of Jhessye's relatives. That same day, Johnson attended a hearing where she fought for continued custody of Hunter's three other children.

Sept. 23, 2013 -- Trial scheduled in the murder of Jhessye

The trial in the first-degree murder of Jhessye was originally scheduled for August 2014.

Dec. 6, 2014 -- Trial rescheduled for early 2015

After facing two delays, Hunter was set to go on trial for the first-degree murder of Jhessye starting March 2, 2015.

March 2, 2015 -- Jury selection begins in Jhessye's trial

About 120 potential jurors filed into Judge Rosa Mroz's courtroom for the start of what is expected to be a lengthy trial. Jury selection was expected to last for two weeks, while the trial was expected to last into May.

March 25, 2015 -- Hunter goes on trial for murder of 5-year-old daughter

A jury of nine women and seven men were brought on to decide whether or not Hunter is guilty of felony murder and related child abuse charges in the death of 5-year-old Jhessye. Prosecutor Jeanette Gallagher began with a detailed timeline of suspected events before and after Jhessye's death, including the 96-day search of Butterfield Landfill for a body. Lead defense attorney Candace Shoemaker fought back and argued that two people saw Jhessye on the day she was reported missing. The defense ended their opening arguments with a statement that the state's case is highly circumstantial.

April 1, 2015 -- Hunter breaks down in court

After a week of listening to testimony and maintaining an emotionless presence in court, Hunter breaks down in court during an afternoon break. Jhessye would have been 9-years-old on that day. Lisa Vance, Hunter's cousin who raised Jhessye for the first four years of her life, testified for the state that Jhessye was always quiet in her mother's presence.

April 20, 2015 -- Jury handed Hunter's fate in first-degree murder trial

After less than a month of testimony, the jury began deliberating in the first-degree murder of 5-year-old Jhessye. Prosecutor Blaine Gadow said Hunter killed Jhessye, stuffed her body in a suitcase and disposed of it in a dumpster before reporting her missing.

April 27, 2015 -- Jury finds Hunter guilty of murder, child abuse charges

After two hours of deliberations, a jury found Hunter guilty in the first-degree murder of her daughter. The first jury deliberated for about 11 hours, before a pregnant juror was replaced for medical reasons just hours before the verdict was read.

About the Author


KTAR.com is the online home of KTAR News on 92.3 FM, the Voice of Arizona. We're your source for breaking news, traffic, weather and the stories that matter to you.

Comments

comments powered by Disqus
Latest News