Glendale PD ending Jhessye Shockley landfill search

GLENDALE, AZ - At an emotional press conference Wednesday police said they are ending their months-long landfill search for the body of Jhessye Shockley, missing since October.

Police had previously announced the search was winding down after finding "no significant discovery of evidence directly connected" to the 5-year-old's death.

Police said Wednesday they spent 96 search days at the Butterfield Station Landfill and have been unsuccessful in their efforts to locate Jhessye.

"Despite our best efforts the odds were against us … We searched everywhere she was likely to be and we were unable to find her," said Assistant Chief Rick St. John.

"We did everything humanly possible to try to find her," Interim Commander Dave Madeya said through tears.    

Watch the emotional video in the player above  


The young girl's mother, Jerice Hunter, remains the primary suspect in the case, according to St. John.

St. John said Hunter remains in the Phoenix metro area, but they are not in contact with her directly.

Police said last week that the search operation for the Jhessye's remains at the Mobile landfill had "entered its final stages."

Hundreds of volunteer police personnel have sifted through thousands of tons of trash in a 36,000-square-foot area of the landfill since Feb. 6. The search cost approximately $750,000 to conduct.

Police believe the girl's body was disposed of days before her mother reported her missing Oct. 11.

Hunter was arrested in November on suspicion of child abuse. She was later released from jail and the charge dropped after prosecutors said they wanted to investigate further.

St. John said the department is close to meeting with the County Attorney's Office to file charges in the case.

There is a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

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