PHOENIX - The relatives of a 5-year-old Glendale girl who police believe was murdered are preparing to sue the agencies that were supposed to protect her.
Jhessye Shockley was reported missing in October 2011 by her mother, Jerice Hunter.
Glendale police believe Hunter, who was once convicted of child abuse, actually killed Jhessye and disposed of the body.
Now, Jhessye’s family members are suing Child Protective Services and the Glendale Police Department claiming the agencies committed “gross negligence” when they failed to investigate possible abuse which ultimately led to the child’s “wrongful death.”
“We really wish we could sue them and they'd give baby Jhessye back,” said their attorney Dwane Cates, “but they can't.”
Cates told ABC15 his clients, Tycora Cole, Mahogany Hightower and Ida Vance, are asking for money because that is their only means of recourse for Jhessye’s future estate. “The only thing that the law provides for is for money and so we have to ask for money,” he said.
The relatives, who helped raise Jhessye before she was back in Hunter’s care, are asking for $3 million.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Click on the region names in the map below to see news from that region.
Things To Do
INSIDE: View our list of events happening this week around the Valley.
RIGHT NOW: Top Stories
Police have identified a body found in a Mesa dumpster last week as a 14-year-old girl.
Check out 100 of Maricopa County's mug shots of the week from December 9. All inmates are innocent until proven guilty.
Bob Filner was sentenced Monday to three months of home confinement and three years of probation for harassing women while he was mayor of San Diego.
Jodi Arias' sentencing phase retrial will remain in Phoenix after a judge denied a second motion from defense attorneys to move the case because of intense publicity.
Police are asking for the public’s help in locating a 12-year-old girl in Glendale.
A former assistant Tempe High School band instructor accused of having a sexual relationship with a female student has been sentenced to 10 years of probation.