Missing Glendale girl's family wants national media attention

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

GLENDALE, Ariz.-- Jahessye Shockley has been missing since last Tuesday and police still have no solid leads. Now her family is questioning why her story has yet to gain traction among national media outlets.

"It's not getting out. It needs to get beyond this, it's been eight days," said Shirley Johnson, Jahessye's grandmother.

Johnson, other relatives and a handful of strangers who have joined the mission to find Jahessye congregated at the State Capitol on Thursday, in hopes of getting more attention for the search.

They then walked through downtown Phoenix, handing out fliers with Jahessye's picture.

"We're trying to get national attention," said Anita White, who volunteered her time to help in the effort. "Just like they're telling that story down in Kansas, we need that here."

White was referring to coverage of 11-month-old Lisa Irwin, who has been missing from her Kansas City, Mo. home since early this month.

Irwin has made the cover of People magazine and been the main topic of discussion on national programs including the Nancy Grace show.

"I believe it's because she's a little black kid," Johnson said of the discrepancy in national media attention.

Paul Penzone, a retired Phoenix police sergeant, is a regular panelist on Nancy Grace and said he has asked producers to pick up the story, but they have yet to do so.

"Why the media hasn't grasped this yet, I don't know," he said. "I would be surprised if the factor of color were the primary reason behind it. It doesn't mean that it's impossible."

Penzone says the national exposure can be a major asset to the search.

Johnson says she and other friends and relatives will assemble back at the Capitol on Monday to rally for more support for the search for Jahessye.