Attorney hired for mother of missing Jhessye Shockley

Posted: Updated:
Scott Maasen Scott Maasen

Valley defense attorney Scott Maasen said he has been hired by family and supporters of Jerice Hunter, the Glendale mom whose 5-year-old has been missing for seven weeks.

"It's not a pro bono case. I was contacted originally by friend's of Jerice and member from the church, I spoke with her father and met with Jerice last Wednesday," said Maasen.

The former prosecutor said he believed that to this point what has been played out in the media is one-sided.  He said he felt it was time someone spoke out on behalf of Hunter.

Maasen said he found it very unusual that Hunter was arrested for child abuse, then a week later released without charges ever being filed.

"Normally, if police arrest someone and someone's put in jail, they have a case, you know, they have the goods on someone, so to speak, and they see a judge and that starts the court process," said Maasen. "If they feel they have a case they need to file charges. If they don't feel they have a case they need to let us know that, let the public know that, as well, and let's get back to the focus of finding Jhessye."

Maasen said in every conversation he has had with Hunter she brings up finding Jhessye.  He said Hunter wants her daughter found and wants to reunite with her daughter.

Glendale police have said they hold out little hope of finding the little girl alive.  They also said the focus of their investigation surrounding the disappearance and possible murder of Jhessye remains on Hunter.

"I haven't seen any reports other than the initial form IV, the initial booking paperwork. So, there are going to be a number of police reports, witness statements, different things that we're going to do independently of what the police department has done in order to look at this case," said Maasen.

Hunter apparently is in favor of Maasen hiring an investigator, to research the case as well as look for Jhessye.

Maasen said he has not yet decided whether to allow his client to submit to a polygraph.

Copyright 2011 KPHO. All rights reserved.