Five-year-old Jahessye Shockley wandered out of her Glendale, Arizona 10 days ago and has been missing ever since.
But you wouldn’t know it. The national media has been focused on looking for Baby Lisa, the blue-eyed, chubby-cheeked 11-month-old who went missing from her Missouri home on October 4.
Despite an $11,000 reward, and sites like BlackAndMissing continuing to cover Shockley’s case, the family has yet to locate her. Now, Shockley’s family is urging the national media to take up little Jahessye’s case and find their little girl.
Jahessye’s mother, Jerice Hunter is devastated by her daughter’s disappearance. Jahessye went missing after unknowingly slipping out our of her home while her older siblings babysat. When Hunter returned home from running errands to find her daughter missing, she called the police. Last week Hunter told the media, “Please bring my baby back… Her safe return is all I want. She belongs to this family… She’s somebody’s child. Mine. Please bring my child home.”
Shirley Johnson, Jahessye’s grandmother wonders why the national media hasn’t picked up the story.
“I want the national media to pick it up… I won’t stop til they do. I don’t know why it’s not national now. They have the ability to make sure someone from across the nation knows what’s going on,” Johnson told a CNN affiliate.
Police say media exposure is critical to finding Jahessye. After wrapping up a search of Jahessye’s neighborhood, they need tips from the public to help locate her whereabouts.
Jahessye’s story has received moderate support from some media outlets. Her story has been featured in the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, and CNN, but has been largely ignored by the mainstream media.
Retired police officer and child advocate Paul Penzone said he didn’t understand the media’s refusal to cover Jahessye’s case.
“I don’t know what’s missing or why, but in our community this is a big deal. We’d hope it would get national media in hopes of getting a successful recovery,” said Penzone.
Penzone, who happens to be a frequent panelist on the Nancy Grace Show, has even informed the show’s producers about Jahessey, but so far, they haven’t aired information about her case.
Unfortunately, the media’s failure to cover cases involving missing people of color is nothing new. While all eyes were focused Natalie Halloway, thousands of Black people went missing without any media coverage at all. In 2009 alone, 719,558 missing people were entered into the database, 30% of which were Black. However, how many of those did we hear about? I’d wager, very few.
Because finding missing people relies heavily on tips from the public, garnering media attention is crucial locating them.
Little Jahessey is five-years-old, 3 feet 5-inches tall, 55 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a white t-shirt, blue jean shorts and pink sandals.
Anyone with information about Jahessye’s disappearance is asked to call the Glendale Police Department at 623-930-HELP (4357).