GLENDALE, AZ - A birthday party was thrown for a missing 6-year-old Glendale girl Sunday even though she has not been seen in more than half a year.
A group of child abuse prevention advocates brought cake, balloons, and refreshments to Jhessye Shockley ’s memorial on in the corner of 45th and Glendale avenues.
The group used Jhessye’s 6th birthday as a way to acknowledge the start of National Child Abuse Prevention month in April.
The group Jessica’s Law Now told ABC15 they held the event for every victim and survivor of child abuse.
The group takes their name from Jessica Lunsford, a 9-year-old Florida girl killed by a sex offender. They want stricter laws to protect children nationwide.
Police, friends, and family have searched for Jhessye practically every day since her disappearance in October.
The main search for her has moved to a landfill south of Phoenix . That's where detectives think Jhessye's body is.
Law enforcement is investigating the possibility that her mother, Jerice Hunter, killed Jhessye and then dumped her body in the trash.
Searchers have so far gone through more than 2,500 tons of trash, but there is still no sign of Jhessye.
The people behind Sunday’s child abuse prevention event said they are suspicious of Hunter. She refused to show up to the birthday event in her daughter’s honor.
"This is what's sad; all the mothers we work with, that we've been involved with, I've never seen any case where right away they want to hide,” Jessica’s Law Now organizer Mark Palmer said. “She should go to the police, take a lie detector test, clear herself, and say, 'what can I do to find my daughter.' "
Statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services show nearly five children die everyday in the country from child abuse. By raising awareness of the issue, organizers from Jessica’s Law Now hope they can save a few of those kids.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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