One year ago today, 5-year-old Jhessye Shockley was reported missing by her mother, Jerice Hunter. Her body still hasn't been found.
What followed was an extensive search that eventually ended unfruitfully in a valley landfill, and the investigation transformed from the initial amber alert, to a missing persons case, to that of a homicide.
Last year, Shockley's mother was arrested on suspicion of child abuse, and released one week later when no charges were filed. One month ago she was arrested for first degree murder in the case, and has since pleaded not guilty.
Investigative reports show ongoing abuse at the hands of Hunter, that Jhessye was kept in a closet without food or water, and that her siblings were told to lie about when she supposedly went missing.
Now the state must prosecute Hunter without the victim's body.
"It is my firm belief that with the investigation to this point that we've secured the appropriate charges and the process will proceed with the sole goal of providing justice," said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery during Hunter's arrest announcement.
The Glendale Police department issued a statement Thursday to show their remembrance of Jhessye Shockley.
As we look back on the year, we are saddened by the circumstances that we know lead to the disappearance and death of Jhessye and the arrest of Jerice Hunter, and yet we are encouraged by the outpouring of support from our law enforcement partners and the community as a whole. Rarely does an investigation invoke so many different emotions for so many people. None of us will ever forget little Jhessye, and remembrance of her weighs heavily upon our hearts today.
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
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