CPS Received One Report Claiming Jerice Hunter Abused or Neglected Jhessye Shockley
Despite what's previously been said by Jerice Hunter's family, information released by Child Protective Services says it received just one report accusing Hunter of abusing or neglecting her 5-year-old daughter, Jhessye Shockley.
Of course, Hunter has been charged with child abuse and the first-degree murder of Jhessye, whom police believe is dead.
Such information is released by CPS with all deaths or near-deaths of children, which includes any number of reports made to CPS, and what action CPS took in the case.
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"CPS received one prior report alleging abuse or neglect of Jhessye Shockley by Jerice Hunter," the document says.
The report, as described by this CPS release, is more on the side of neglect, rather than abuse.
"On February 28, 2011 a report was received alleging that Jerice Hunter was homeless," the document says. "There was an additional concern, as Jerice Hunter had recently been incarcerated for child abuse."
This is clearly different from the narrative shared by one of Hunter's relatives with Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts in October:
"In an interview [in October], [Hunter's cousin Mahogany] Hightower told me she repeatedly called Child Protective Services, both in California and Arizona. CPS in California told her there was nothing they could do. California prison officials have confirmed that Hunter was paroled with no restrictions on her ability to see her children.
But I'm told that California CPS did alert their Arizona counterparts to Hunter. Meanwhile, Hightower has said she talked with an Arizona CPS caseworker several times between February and May , to report the family's concerns that both Jhessye and the older girl -- the one whose beating sent Hunter to prison -- were being abused.
One of those calls came after Hightower last saw Jhessye, on April 24 at a family barbecue. 'When we were getting ready to leave, she cried tremendously like she didn't want to let us leave,' Hightower said. 'She kept saying, please don't leave her, please don't leave her.'
After that day, Hightower said she called CPS yet again and also mentioned her suspicion that Hunter, by then pregnant again, was doing drugs. The caseworker, she said, visited the older child's school and Hunter's home but told Hightower there was nothing she could do because the kids denied there was any abuse."
That's led to the common thought that CPS "dropped the ball" in letting Jhessye stay with Hunter, and while this information clearly doesn't exonerate the agency from erring, it certainly questions what's been said.
Still, as with many of the facts with this case, what actually happened probably won't be known until a trial -- if that happens.
Click here to see the information recently released by CPS.
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