*The family of missing Arizona five-year-old Jhessye Shockley are outraged because they claim that the media is not giving enough coverage of the missing girl, who disappeared on Oct. 13.
Meanwhile, white, blue-eyed Lisa Irwin has been on the news headlines and magazine covers since her disappearance on Oct. 4, while Jhessye’s family claims her story has been overlooked, as reported on Radar Online.
The parents, desperate to get media attention for Jhessye, recently marched on the Arizona state capital to draw attention to her disappearance, according to the Arizona Republic.
Mother Jerice Hunter said her daughter was reported missing when she went to run an errand and came home to find her daughter had vanished without a trace.
Police are investigating whether Jhessye unlocked the door and walked out of the Glendale, Arizona house, or if she had been abducted by an unknown suspect.
But news has been uncovered that Hunter pleaded no contest in California to abusing her children in 2005, according to the New York Times.
Hunter, who has several other children, served three and a half years in state prison.
According to 2006 court documents, Hunter was “accused of torturing her 7-year-old daughter and of causing corporal injuries to three of her other children.”
Hunter’s kids told police that their mother would whip and punch them, sometimes beating them so badly with extension cords she left welts.
Her 14-year-old son said that the beatings occurred multiple times a week for several years.
Family members have said that the search should focus on the child, not on the mother’s criminal past.
“I feel like they’re (the media) covering me, instead of my daughter because it’s a juicy story for them and they want to get ratings,” said Hunter, who is currently eight months pregnant. “Because I wouldn’t speak to them initially, they decided they would draw me out by demonizing me.”
The child’s biological dad, George Shockley, is a registered sex offender who is currently serving 12 years in a California prison for a sex offender conviction.
Although the police have not implicated the family in Jhessye’s disappearance, Child Protective Services took three of Hunter’s other children into care the day after she went missing, and refuse to say why they were taken from the home.
Cousin Mahogany Hightower, who helped look after Jhessye when her mom was in jail, recalls that the little girl exhibited bizarre behavior during a family BBQ in April.
“She cried really bad, telling us she wanted to go home now,” she told the Arizona Republic.
“We told her, ‘You can’t go home with us now but you will later.’ She goes, ‘I can’t go later. I ‘ve got to go now.’”
Hunter told news reporters that she would never hurt her daughter and became angry when a reporter suggested she may have harmed her.
“Do I look like I hurt my daughter?” she repeated several times.
On the day of her disappearance, Jhessye was wearing a white T-shirt, blue jean shorts and pink sandals.
Glendale police are offering a $11,000 reward to anyone who provides information that leads to Jhessye’s return.
Glendale police told CBS 5 that no one has been ruled out in the girl’s disappearance.
“Everyone is a person of interest,” said a Glendale police officer.
Anyone with information should call 480-WITNESS.