Former sgt. warns landfill search for Jhessye would be long, tiring

GLENDALE, AZ - Glendale police are still trying to determine if they will search the Butterfield Landfill south of the Valley as part of the investigation into the disappearance of a girl in October.

Jhessye Shockley, 5, vanished from her Glendale neighborhood.

A former Tempe police sergeant said if Glendale police plan on searching the landfill for a body, they should be prepared for a long, tiring search.

Ten years ago, up to 30 Tempe officers searched the same landfill for more than three months searching for Cookie Jacobson.  Her body was never found and the case was never solved.

Chuck Schoville was the Tempe sergeant in charge of the landfill search.  He is retired now and shakes his head thinking back on the tormenting experience.

"It's unbelievable" he said.  "It's probably more mentally exhausting than physically."

For starters the amount of trash is massive. Schoville describes it as a mountain of trash as tall as a highway billboard. 

Plus, there are many dangerous items there from sharp objects to chemicals dumped illegally. 

Not to mention, searchers would be looking for a small body, or worse, body parts. 

"Ten feet of space can take weeks to get through," he explained.

Searchers have to start at the top of a mountain of trash and rake their way down.

Schoville thinks the Glendale police are probably sorting through the landfill's records to determine the size of the search area before deciding to look for Jhessye there.

"If they asked me if they should I would say yes, go do the right thing and try to find the body," he said. "But I would also say be prepared it will be an extremely large task."

Schoville also said if asked, he would go back to search for Cookie Jacobson's body.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments