Missing Arizona girl's mother arrested on child abuse charges

Missing Arizona girl's mother arrested on child abuse charges

November 21st, 2011 by Associated Press in Local - Breaking News

Jerice Hunter, left, the mother of missing 5-year-old Jahessye Shockley, pauses before answering a question, as relative, Brenda Hunter, wipes her eyes, during a news conference to bring awareness about the missing child at the Arizona Capitol, Monday, Oct. 24, 2011, in Phoenix. Jahessye Shockley has been missing since Oct. 11 after police believe she wandered from her apartment in Glendale while her mother was running an errand. The girl's three older siblings were the last to see her. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

This undated file photo provided by the Glendale Police Department shows 5-year-old Jhessye Shockley. Glendale police said Monday, Nov. 21, 2011, that they will release new information Monday about the investigation into Shockley's disappearance. She has been missing for more than a month. (AP Photo/Glendale Police Department, File)

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

AMANDA LEE MYERS, Associated Press

GLENDALE, Ariz. - Police in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale have arrested the mother of a missing 5-year-old girl on child abuse charges.

Sgt. Brent Coombs said Monday that Jerice Hunter was arrested on child abuse charges "directly related to Jhessye (JES'-ee)."

Jhessye Shockley has been missing since Oct. 11.

Coombs said at a news conference that investigators don't believe they'll find the girl alive and that Hunter "is our No. 1 focus."

Hunter's apartment was surrounded by police tape Monday as investigators in white jumpsuits searched inside.

Police have said they believed Jhessye wandered from her Glendale apartment while Hunter was running an errand. The girl's three older siblings were the last to see her. Police have repeatedly said they had no evidence, suspects or promising leads.

Hunter's four other children, including a newborn, were removed from her home last month.