Case of missing Ariz. girl points to kidnapping

AP News
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Posted: Oct 17, 2011 8:09 PM
Case of missing Ariz. girl points to kidnapping

Police looking for a 5-year-old Arizona girl who has been missing six days said Monday they now believe she was most likely kidnapped, because otherwise they would have found her.

Jahessye (JES'-ee) Shockley was last seen by her three older siblings Oct. 11 at her Glendale home while their mother was running an errand. Police believe she left their apartment through the front door but don't know anything about what happened next.

"If it was just her walking away, we would have found her by now," Glendale police Sgt. Brent Coombs told The Associated Press. "Obviously she's not with us. Somebody knows something or somebody has interacted with her and put her in a place, and we just haven't found her yet."

Police have no suspects, evidence or promising leads _ nothing that points them definitively to what happened.

Coombs said the girl's mother is not a suspect despite comments she made to reporters.

"They're treating me like that _ the interrogations and the way I've been spoken to," Jahessye's mother, Jerice Hunter, said Monday in an interview with the AP. "(They're) very disrespectful."

Coombs said police have treated Hunter no differently than any other mother of a missing child. They conducted an initial interview as well as follow-ups because "people remember things, details, as time goes by."

He said Hunter might believe she's a suspect because "emotions are speaking."

Coombs said Hunter was cooperative with police, and that investigators were focusing their efforts on poring over details from their interviews with family and neighbors, and going over other aspects of the investigation in an effort to find new leads.

Coombs stressed that police still do not know what happened.

"We're hoping that she's uninjured," he said. "We would love to be able to report to the family that we've found her and she's safe and she's fine."

Child Protective Services spokesman Steve Meissner said Hunter's three other children are now in CPS custody but he couldn't elaborate on the reason.

Hunter declined to speak about her other children but pleaded for Jahessye's safe return.

"I would really appreciate anybody who has any information, anyone who thinks they have seen anything, to contact the police," she said. "If you have my child, please take her to a safe place, a public place where she can be located."

She added, "The family will not be the same until the child is returned, and I will be relentless in my search."

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