9500 tons of trash yielded no usable evidence
The landfill search for a missing 5-year-old Glendale girl is over.
Glendale police announced Wednesday that they've concluded the 4½-month search of a targeted area of the Butterfield landfill west of Maricopa, south of the Valley.
Assistant police chief Rick St. John said nearly 300 volunteers worked 43,000 man-hours going through an area of compressed trash that was equivalent to two-thirds of a football field covered 21 feet deep. Searchers didn't find Jhessye's body, or anything of evidentiary value, St. John said.
He added that statistics indicate that less than ten percent of such landfill searches yield the desired results.
Police say Jhessye Shockley was reported missing in early October, but investigators concluded that she was killed, and her body dumped in a dumpster in Tempe, several days earlier. Detectives tracked the trash that was picked up from that part of Tempe on the day they believe her body was deposited to a given area of the landfill.
St. John says the lack of a body will be a detriment to their murder investigation, but it won't preclude a prosecution. He said detectives still need more evidence before they can bring any charges.
Jhessye's mother, Jerice Hunter, who has previous convictions for child abuse, is the prime suspect in the case. However, she has not yet been arrested.