October 26, 2020

Missing girl’s mom arrested on child abuse charges

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GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Police on Monday arrested the mother of a missing 5-year-old Arizona girl on child abuse charges “directly related” to the girl, and said they don’t believe they’ll find the child alive.

In a news conference that offered the most detail yet about what investigators think happened to Jhessye Shockley, Glendale police said the girl’s mother, Jerice Hunter, was now the investigation’s “No. 1 focus.”

Hunter was booked Monday at the Maricopa County jail. A sheriff’s spokesman said Hunter was unable to talk to reporters because she had not yet been assigned a housing unit. She was scheduled for her first court appearance Monday night.

Hunter previously told The Associated Press she had nothing to do with Jhessye’s disappearance and was highly critical of the department’s investigation.

Glendale police Sgt. Brent Coombs said at the news conference that new information in the past few days led police to serve another search warrant on Hunter’s Glendale apartment and arrest her Monday. He wouldn’t elaborate.

He also said Hunter has not cooperated with investigators who have been trying to set up a lie-detector test with her.

Coombs added the reward offered for information leading to Jhessye has been raised to $25,000.

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