GLENDALE, AZ - The national spotlight is starting to shine on the case of 5-year-old Jhessye Shockley, the Glendale girl who has now been missing for 10 days.
The girl's grandmother, Shirley Johnson, criticized how the case has been handled and covered.
Johnson claims that had Jhessye been white or from a higher social class, national media would have picked up the case.
Jhessye’s grandfather, who shares her name, said he was happy to see the national media coverage. He said he did not feel, however, that race was a factor in how the case is being handled or covered.
“We are elated for all the beautiful people who have come out here,” Jessie Johnson said.
The story appeared on CNN's Headline news Friday and the case was featured on CNN's Jane Velez-Mitchell show in the afternoon.
A friend of the family tells ABC15 that the grandmother is scheduled to do an interview with CNN's Nancy Grace, as well.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer also weighed in on the case story saying, "I think the Glendale Police Department is doing everything they possibly can do and I am hopeful that she will be found in the near future and whoever who has created this distressful event is punished."
Johnson and a group of people passed out flyers Thursday at the Capitol hoping to attract the attention of lawmakers.
"I think for a story that originated out of Phoenix it is pretty big," said Mike Shaldjian, owner of Mediawatch AZ.
Shaldjian monitors and records broadcasts from every television market in the country.
He said since the Amber Alert was issued, there were 500 stories on Jhessye at stations stretching all across the country.
Shaldjian said the allegations of racism could thrust the story into an even larger spotlight.
"I think we're going to see a lot of debate about that all by itself in aside from the story that Jhessye is missing," he said.
He didn't think that race played a factor, but said when the missing person is a high profile figure like a celebrity or politician the coverage gets national attention usually in less than 24 hours.
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