Jhessye Shockley's Mother Jerice Hunter Arrested for Girl's Murder
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said Hunter's charged with first-degree murder and child abuse.
Shockley was reported missing in October, and her mother has always been the prime suspect in her death.
Hunter -- who's served prison time for child abuse before for abusing her other children -- had always denied hurting Jhessye, although police said in November that investigators believed Jhessye was thrown in a Tempe trash can, and her body was likely taken to a landfill.
The landfill search was completed in June, with no sign of Jhessye.
Montgomery noted that his office has successfully prosecuted murder cases before without a body, and said it "did not prove an impediment" to this case.
Between police, Montgomery, and the FBI, this afternoon's press conference was extremely light on details.
Why did it take so long to pin the murder on Hunter? That wasn't really answered, although police said the landfill search did need to be completed before putting the entire case together.
Police said Hunter was arrested without incident at her home in Mesa.
Our previous stories on Shockley's disappearance below:
- Jerice Hunter Bond Request Turned Down by Bail Bondsman; Mom's 5-year-Old Still Missing, Believed Dead
- Jhessye Shockley Not Likely to Be Found Alive, Glendale PD Says. Mother Arrested for Child Abuse "Directly Related" to Disappearance