The picture of Jahessye Shockley shows a beautiful little girl. That little girl has been missing since Oct. 11 from Glendale, Ariz. The family of Jahessye has claimed that there has been little national attention to this case because Jahessye is black and because of the parents, Jerice Hunter and George Shockley’s, criminal backround.
Jerice Hunter was accused of using corporal punishment in 2005, amid claims by her oldest child that she beat the children regularly. Hunter entered a plea of no contest, and served about 4 years in prison. George Shockley, then Hunter’s husband, was arrested in the same case and is still in prison. He is a registered sex offender. This, says the grandmother of Jahessye, is the reason there is not national media attention being cast on this case.
Jerice Hunter told police that she left Jahessye with three older siblings and went to run errands. She said she locked the door when she left and when she returned the door was unlocked and Jahessye was gone. Since then, there have been claims of race bias because the case is not getting the national attention that the baby Lisa Irwin case is getting. Paul Penzone, a retired Phoenix police sergeant and child advocate, says he asked producers of the CNN Nancy Grace show to run Jahessye’s story and had not heard anything. Friday night, CNN did cover Jahessye’s story. Penzone said there is massive local coverage and he hoped that national coverage would result in getting a successful recovery.
Jahessye’s grandmother, Shirley Johnson, said that she did not believe that her daughter was involved in the disappearance of Jahessye. It is reported that a cousin of Jerice Hunter’s, Mahogany Hightower, said that she had called State Children’s Protective Services several times, because she believed that Jahessye and her siblings were being abused. The three siblings of Jahessye have been removed from the home. The police say this has nothing to do with this case.
Police have said the mother is not a suspect and they believe this is a kidnapping. Friends and family have handed out hundreds of fliers to the public. The police have denied that they are not giving the case the needed attention, they point to the fact that they have used aircraft, dogs and extensive searches of the neighborhood. They said although the work they were doing was not as visible now as in the first hours, there is more work going on in the background.
The family planned a march to the capital on Monday to demand more coverage of Jahessye’s case and to get state officials involved. Glenn Johnson, no kin to Shirley Johnson, who was handing out fliers put it in this perspective, “I have very little confidence in the police, mostly because they have no logical place to look. I don’t think it makes a difference if she is white, black or green. If there’s no leads, there’s no leads. Sometimes it’s a dead end.”