Mother of missing Arizona girl arrested again

Sep 7, 2012, 12:53 AM

Associated Press

PHOENIX (AP) – The mother of an Arizona girl missing for nearly a year was re-arrested in the case Thursday on suspicion of first-degree murder and child abuse.

Police in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale announced at a news conference that Jerice Hunter was taken into custody without incident at her home in Mesa.

Hunter, 38, was indicted earlier in the day by a Maricopa County grand jury, even though the body of 5-year-old Jhessye Shockley hasn’t been found.

Hunter’s lawyer Scott Maasen said his client maintains her innocence.

“The indictment is not evidence,” Maasen said. “There is no body in this case. Cases without finding bodies are very difficult cases.”

County Attorney Bill Montgomery said his office “has successfully prosecuted cases in which the victim’s body was never found.”

“We now have the opportunity to seek justice for Jhessye and uncover the truth behind her disappearance,” Montgomery added.

Investigators believe Shockley’s body was disposed of days before Hunter reported her missing Oct. 11 and told police that she left Jhessye with the girl’s older siblings while she ran an errand and returned to find her gone.

A 96-day search at a Phoenix-area landfill ended in late June without finding the girl’s remains.

Glendale Police Chief Debora Black said at a news conference that Shockley’s “final resting place” likely is at the bottom of the Butterfield Landfill in Mobile, south of Phoenix, but no additional searches are scheduled.

She said 280 officers sifted through more than 9,500 tons of trash from early February to late June without success.

“They worked tirelessly to accomplish two goals: to find Jhessye and to hold the person responsible for her disappearance accountable,” Black added. “We are confident with the indictment and arrest, we will achieve our second goal of securing justice for Jhessye.”

Hunter was arrested in November on suspicion of child abuse but later released from jail with the charge dropped. Prosecutors said then that they wanted to continue investigating and were worried that Hunter would not be eligible for a potential murder charge if she was convicted of abusing Shockley, a situation known as double jeopardy.

At the news conference, authorities said Hunter was arrested based on the collection of evidence in the case since October.

Police records show Jhessye’s siblings told investigators in the days after her disappearance that Hunter allegedly abused her and kept the girl in a closet.

In October 2005, Hunter was arrested with her then-husband 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.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

FILE - Anne Heche arrives at the premiere of "The Tender Bar" on Dec. 12, 2021, at the TCL Chinese ...
Associated Press

Anne Heche in critical condition, on ventilator after crash

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Anne Heche remained hospitalized on a ventilator to help her breathe and faced surgery Tuesday, four days after the actor was injured in a fiery car crash. “Shortly after the accident, Anne became unconscious, slipping into a coma and is in critical condition,” spokeswoman Heather Duffy Boylston said in an email. […]
16 hours ago
FILE - Violent insurrectionists loyal to President Donald Trump climb the west wall of the U.S. Cap...
Associated Press

Feds ask probation for ex-police officer who stormed Capitol

A former Virginia police officer who pleaded guilty to storming the U.S. Capitol with another off-duty officer deserves to avoid a prison sentence for his cooperation and trial testimony against the other officer, federal prosecutors argued in a court filing Tuesday. Justice Department prosecutors recommended six months of probation along with a period of home […]
16 hours ago
FILE - Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, left, listens as Bishop Megan Rohrer speaks to the media before thei...
Associated Press

Lutheran bishop issues public apology to Latino congregation

Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, issued a public apology Tuesday to members of a majority Latino immigrant congregation for the pain and trauma they endured after the predominantly white denomination’s first openly transgender bishop unexpectedly fired their pastor. Speaking during the 2022 Churchwide Assembly being held in Columbus, […]
16 hours ago
FILE - Signage for LIV Golf is displayed during the pro-am round of the Bedminster Invitational LIV...
Associated Press

Federal judge denies LIV golfers bid for PGA Tour postseason

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — A federal judge in California has ruled three golfers who joined Saudi-backed LIV Golf will not be able to compete in the PGA Tour’s postseason. Judge Beth Labson Freeman made her decision Tuesday afternoon in San Jose after attorneys for the sides each spoke for about an hour. The golfers […]
16 hours ago
Associated Press

Former Twitter worker convicted of spying for Saudi Arabia

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A former Twitter employee has been convicted of failing to register as an agent for Saudi Arabia and other charges after accessing private data on users critical of the kingdom’s government in a spy case that spanned from Silicon Valley to the Middle East. Ahmad Abouammo, a U.S. citizen and former […]
16 hours ago
Associated Press

8 minority jail officers settle suit over guarding Chauvin

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Eight minority corrections officers who were working at the jail where a former Minneapolis police officer was awaiting trial in the death of George Floyd were awarded nearly $1.5 million Tuesday to settle a lawsuit. The officers filed the racial discrimination complaint after a Ramsey County Jail superintendent barred officers […]
16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
Mother of missing Arizona girl arrested again