Jhessye Shockley's aunt wants police to look at everyone, including girl's mom

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by Catherine Holland

azfamily.com

Posted on October 28, 2011 at 10:23 AM

Updated Friday, Oct 28 at 1:03 PM

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- In a reversal of what they've been saying, some members of Jhessye Shockley's family now seem to be wondering if the 5-year-old's mother could have had something to do with the little girl's disappearance.

Jhessye vanished from her Glendale home nearly three weeks ago while her mother was out running an errand.

Until now, the family has insisted that Jhessye's mom, Jerice Hunter, was not involved in the disappearance of Jhessye.

Hunter served time in a California prison in 2006 on charges of child abuse. She was released last year.

Over the weekend, Jhessye's grandmother, Shirley Johnson, and aunt, Tammy Hunter appeared on CNN. Johnson was staunch in her support of her daughter.

"Are you sure in your heart of hearts that Jhessye's mother has nothing to do with her disappearance?" the anchor asked.

"I feel comfortable saying that," Johnson answered. "I just don't think she' capable of that, to do anything to her child. I just can't see that."

Earlier in the week, Hunter herself expressed anger with the media when a reporter asked her if she hurt Jhessye.

"It's very unfair for you to ask me that," she said. "Do I look like I would hurt my daughter? Do I look like I would hurt my daughter?"

In something of an about face, Josie Hunter, another of Jhessye's aunts, appeared on Headline News Thursday evening and said she could not say definitively whether Hunter was involved in whatever happened to Jhessye.

"If the police find evidence of whoever did it, including Jerice … I feel whoever did it should be held accountable," she said. "I, right now, cannot say that I know for sure that Jerice did this or anything like that. I want them [police] to look at everyone. She does have a past …."

Police say at this point Hunter, who is due to give birth any day, is not a suspect in the case.

Anyone with information about Jhessye Shockley is asked to call 623-930-HELP (4357). There is a reward of at least $11,000 for information that leads police to the little girl.

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