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Police: Ariz. girl missing 6 days likely kidnapped

Police looking for a 5-year-old Arizona girl who has been missing six days say they now believe she was most likely kidnapped.
Jahessye Shockley
5-year-old Jahessye Shockley is seen in this undated handout photo provided by the Glendale Police Department. The Arizona girl has been missing for six days.AP
/ Source: staff and news service reports

Police looking for a 5-year-old Arizona girl who has been missing six days said Monday they now believe she was most likely kidnapped, because otherwise they would have found her.

Jahessye (JES'-ee) Shockley was last seen by her three older siblings last Tuesday at her Glendale home while their mother was running an errand. Police believe she left their apartment through the front door but don't know anything about what happened next.

"If it was just her walking away, we would have found her by now," Glendale police Sgt. Brent Coombs told The Associated Press. "Obviously she's not with us. Somebody knows something or somebody has interacted with her and put her in a place, and we just haven't found her yet."

Police have no suspects, evidence or promising leads — nothing that points them definitively to what happened.

Coombs said the girl's mother is not a suspect despite comments she made to reporters.

"They're treating me like that — the interrogations and the way I've been spoken to," Jerice Hunter, Jahessy's mother, said Monday in an interview with the AP. "(They're) very disrespectful."

Coombs said police have treated Hunter no differently than any other mother of a missing child. They conducted an initial interview as well as follow-ups because "people remember things, details, as time goes by."

He said Hunter might believe she's a suspect because "emotions are speaking."

The girl's grandmother, Shirley Johnson of California, told on Sunday that state authorities had removed the girl's three sisters from their home.

Child Protective Services spokesman Steve Meissner said Hunter's three other children are now in CPS custody but he couldn't elaborate on the reason.

According to the Republic, Hunter pleaded no contest to four counts of corporal injury to a child in 2006, before Jahessye was born. Hunter and her then convicted sex offender husband George Shockley were accused of "cruel and inhuman corporal punishment and injury," according to court papers. Hunter served 90 days in prison.

It was not clear if George Shockley and Hunter are still married.

CPS spokesman Steve Meissner said Monday he couldn't immediately confirm or deny the agency's involvement. He cited an Arizona law that allows for information about children to be released only if there has been a death or near death caused by child abuse, abandonment or neglect.

Coombs declined to comment about the children's whereabouts, saying only that they're in a safe place.

Police have no hard evidence to indicate that she was kidnapped, but about 100 officers and volunteers found no sign of her after combing through a three-mile radius around her house, including searching in trash bins, swimming pools and shrubbery.

"The statistics show that as the hours go by, the chances that you're going to find her are reduced," Coombs said on Friday. "We're hoping for the best but preparing for the worst."

Police also have interviewed and searched the homes of registered sex offenders in the area.

Authorities canceled an Amber alert Friday that had been issued for the girl because she has been missing much longer than the typical eight to 10 hours that Amber alerts last.

Police have said the girl's parents weren't suspected in her disappearance.

Jahessye's mother, Jerice Hunter, declined to speak to The Associated Press but told KNXV-TV on Thursday that she just wants her daughter back.

"She's somebody's child — mine," Hunter said through tears. "Please bring my child home."