I found this article about the huge ongoing search of an Arizona landfill for the remains of five-year-old Jahessye Shockley (the article spells her name “Jhessye”), believed to have been murdered by her mother last year.
Her mother, Jerice Hunter, sounds like a psycho, to put it mildly. She served four years of an eight-year sentence for abusing her older children over the course of years. Her husband, a convicted sex offender, is still in prison for the same crimes. Jahessye was born while Jerice was in custody, and for the first four years of her life, she was raised by relatives who seem to have taken good care of her and loved her. Certainly she looks healthy, well-fed and happy in all the photos from that phase of her life. (Which is all of the photos, on her Charley page at least. I don’t have any from after she was no longer with her extended family.)
But (I don’t understand why this sort of thing happens) Jerice got the children back after she was released from prison for abusing them, and got Jahessye as well. According to her other children, in September 2011, Jerice pulled Jahessye out of kindergarten, locked her in a closet and deprived her of food. Her oldest sister sneaked her food and water and noticed Jahessye had bruises and looked like a “zombie.” Then there was a terrible smell and Jerice had to spend an entire day cleaning up to get rid of it. Then she reported Jahessye missing.
The case is horribly similar to that of Ariana and Tyler Payne, also in Arizona: kids in the custody of abusive parents in spite of the existence of other loving, responsible adults in the family, locked into a closet and starved to death over a period of weeks or months, then dumped in the trash. I’ve written about the Payne kids a few times before.
It sounds like the authorities are doing their damndest to find Jahessye’s body — I don’t know if I’ve ever heard of a landfill search lasting this long. I hope they succeed. It’ll help nail the mother (probably not much help is needed on that score, if the kids’ testimony is admissible), and this little girl can have the kind of burial she deserves.
Why is it that the people who go around breeding like bunnies are the very people who should NOT be having kids? Okay, I know why: the person who is too irresponsible to use birth control correctly is also too irresponsible to be a parent. But, even though no one ever listens: if you don’t want kids, DON’T HAVE THEM. If you get knocked up anyway, either have an abortion or place the baby for adoption. (Whatever your opinions about abortion — and this is not the place to air them — I think most people would admit it’s much better than what ultimately happened to Jahessye.)
If you have kids, and you’ve got problems, and you feel overwhelmed or whatever, and you’re abusing them or afraid you will start, get help for that. Just, above all, don’t torture your children. Don’t abuse them horribly so they grow up to become bitter, screwed-up adults. And DON’T lock them in a closet and starve them to death. I’m pretty sure I’d make a terrible parent, which is why I am not a parent and have no current plans to be one. It’s that simple, people. Jesus.