PHOENIX, AZ (September 6, 2012) – Jerice Hunter (D.O.B.10/13/1973) is currently in custody facing criminal charges for the murder and abuse of her 5 year-old daughter, Jhessye Shockley, who has been missing since last October. Hunter’s arrest follows a nearly yearlong joint investigation by Glendale Police and the FBI in cooperation with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.
“For the past 11 months, the men and women of the Glendale Police Department and our partners from local, state and federal law enforcement worked tirelessly to accomplish two goals: to find Jhessye and to hold the person responsible for her disappearance accountable. We are confident with the indictment and arrest today, we will achieve our second goal of securing justice for Jhessye,” said Glendale Chief of Police Debora Black.
“I commend our law enforcement partners for their refusal to give up on this case. Thanks to their diligence and hard work, we now have an opportunity to seek justice for Jhessye and uncover the truth behind her disappearance,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.
Jhessye Shockley was first reported missing on October 11, 2011. After an initial investigation and an extensive search for the child, police arrested Jerice Hunter on November 21st on suspicion of child abuse. No formal charges were filed and Hunter was subsequently released. Detectives and forensic investigators continued to work the case, interviewing witnesses and family members and conducting a four-month search of the Butterfield Station Landfill in Mobile.
On September 6, 2012, a Maricopa County Grand Jury delivered an indictment charging Jerice Hunter with one count of child abuse and one count of first degree murder. Both offenses are classified as Dangerous Crimes Against Children. Following the indictment, a warrant was issued for Hunter’s arrest and she was taken into custody. Her indictment and arrest is not evidence of guilt. She is presumed innocent until proven guilty.