Arizona prosecutors believe that missing child Jhessye Shockley was tortured to death by her own mother, but so far a jury has deliberated for going on two days as to whether or not the woman is guilty. The Greenfield Reporter reports that the jury will resume deliberations on Wednesday morning while the public awaits their verdict. The details of this case are absolutely horrific, but the missing five-year-old girl still hasn’t been found after more than three years.
Jhessye Shockley was reported missing on October 11, 2011 by her mother Jerice Hunter. At the time, the disappearance appeared to be a case of child abduction. The mother claimed that she had left to run errands, leaving her youngest child in the care of her older children, who failed to watch the child. However, her story unraveled, and it was revealed by her own children that she had been lying to police. The horrific details shared not only by Jhessye’s siblings, but forensic science, paint a gruesome story of child abuse, torture and murder. However, it’s just not known at this time if a jury can be swayed by the details that exist without a body to prove that the child was slain.
Jhessye Shockley’s 13-year-old sister told detectives that their mother singled the youngest child out to vent her sadistic rage. Arizona Central reports that one of the child’s other siblings lashed out at prosecutors and accused them of trying to make their family look bad. Nonetheless, the details shared in the beginning were possibly irreparably damning.
The child told detectives that her sister was being kept in her mother’s closet in the weeks leading up to her disappearance. She told detectives that, when she last saw her younger sister, the child had black goo coming out of her eyes, and she was covered in bruises. She said that Jhessye couldn’t walk, and asked her to help her to go the bathroom. That same sibling told detectives that the closet smelled like a graveyard and that her younger sister “looked like a zombie.”
When authorities searched the home — including the closet in Jerice’s room — they found that the place had been scrubbed immaculately clean with bleach. They noted that special attention had been paid to the closet, leading them to believe that a crime scene had been cleaned up. Their investigation also led them to the belief that Jerice Hunter disposed of her daughter’s body in a landfill somewhere in the valley.
Jhessye Shockley is still missing after all this time, and her mother’s freedom is on the line. A jury has been deliberating for more than a day, and the future is definitely uncertain. The past, on the other hand, is clear as crystal. Jerice Hunter has been in prison for child torture in the past. In fact, she was ordered to not have custody of her children from that first horrific incident.
[Photo: Tempe Police photo handout/Jhessye Shockley]