GLENDALE, AZ - Glendale police have announced they believe the body of missing 5-year-old Jhessye Shockley was placed in a trash receptacle.
A news release from Glendale police Sgt. Brent Coombs was sent to ABC15 around 10:45 a.m. Wednesday.
“This is an active homicide investigation,” Coombs wrote.
Based on the information and further investigation, police now believe Jhessye’s body was placed in a trash receptacle in Tempe, prior to her reported disappearance on Oct. 11.
"She was taken all the way to the city of Tempe, not alive, and placed in a large trash receptacle. That is ultimately picked up and goes to a transfer station, then removed to a landfill," Coombs said.
Coombs said the trash from that location is eventually taken to Butterfield Landfill south of the Valley.
"We do believe Jhessye is there," he said.
The attorney for the mother of the missing girl doesn’t put too much stock in what police had to say.
“They are trying my client in the media” said Attorney Scott Maasen “but where is the evidence?”
Maasen took over the defense case for Jerice Hunter last month and has poked holes in the police investigation from the start.
He says after reading the latest information from the police department he has more questions than before.
“If they thought they knew where the body was why wouldn’t they do an immediate search?”
Glendale police said shortly after the arrest of Hunter in November for child abuse, investigators received reliable information regarding Jhessye’s disappearance.
Investigators have been working to determine the viability of a landfill search at the location over the last few weeks, Coombs said.
They’re also conducting analysis to determine the chances of successfully recovering Jhessye’s body, he said.
That decision will be finalized in the coming weeks, Coombs said.
“From the beginning of the investigation, the Glendale Police Department has said that we will release substantive information on the Jhessye Shockley case when we can be assured the release will not compromise the investigation,” Coombs wrote in the email.
At this time, Coombs said Hunter has not submitted to a polygraph but investigators are encouraging her cooperation in the investigation.
Investigators would “certainly make a polygraph examination available through her attorney,” Coombs said.
Maasen said he is still considering a polygraph test for his client to prove her innocence, but is weary of tests like it in this state.
“These tests are flawed and much of it depends on the questions asked to get a response than finding actual truth," Maasen said.
Maasen also says he has repeatedly asked investigators for more information on their case against Hunter but hasn’t received any.
He is considering legal action to obtain police reports.
Anyone with information about this case is urged to call Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS.
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