Missing girl's mother claims media is endangering family

GLENDALE, AZ - A vigil was held Saturday evening for 5-year-old Jhessye Shockley who has been missing now for 11 days from her Glendale apartment.

But moments prior to the vigil, Jhessye Shockley's mother made some angry statements that seemed to contradict their prior attempts to get more media attention to the case.

"You put all this negative media out there. I was trying to get away from my ex-husband. Now he knows exactly where to find me. I hope you're happy," Jerice Hunter lashed out as we attempted to ask her about her daughter.

She would not clarify or elaborate further except to say, "You have endangered my children by letting George Shockley know where we are."

The comments may seem a bit confusing considering the investigation and  the push the family has made in recent days to get the story in network news

The apartment complex where Jhessye lived with her mother was the last place she was seen and therefore a focal point in the investigation.  

 At 45th and Glendale avenues, less than half a block from the complex, family and volunteers have been extremely vocal in trying to get the word out by passing out flyers and holding vigils.  

The intersection has been a command post of sorts that has drawn attention from local media from the day she disappeared.

George Shockley, Hunter's ex-husband, is a convicted sex offender who is currently serving time in prison.

Jerice Hunter's father was passing out flyers Saturday and wouldn't comment to clarify her statements to us. He said his focus is on finding Jhessye and he is grateful for the support from media, law enforcement and the community.

We contacted Glendale police to ask about any danger to the family from coverage. They told us 'no' and that they welcome any attention that might prompt new leads.

Family and volunteers have spent the past few days trying to expand the search for the girl. They positioned at the State Capitol and in front of the county courthouse earlier in the week. They hope to eventually make their way into the State Fair and other high profile areas.

The case has started to capture the attention of national media sources . Friday, the story was featured on CNN's Jane Velez-Mitchel show and on Headline News.

Jhessye's grandmother, Shirley Johnson, did not appear on the programs even though she has been very critical of the coverage of the story, claiming that the seeming lack of interest was because the child is black.

Jhessye's grandfather, Jessie Johnson, told ABC15 that he did not feel race was an issue. He recognized that emotions are high right now.

"I'm overwhelmed by all the people who have come out to show support," he said.

Jhessye disappeared October 11 from her apartment near 45th and Glendale avenues

Police issued an Amber Alert the next day that was canceled two days later.

The mother, Jerice Hunter, has a history of abusing her other children while they lived in California, according to court documents.

She spent time in prison and, according to Shirley, was in the process of reuniting with them. CPS removed the other kids from the home early upon Jhessye's disappearance.

Police do not have any new leads in the case.

An $11,000 reward is being offered in the case. The family tells ABC15 that they are putting up an additional $5,000 reward.

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