Jhessye Shockley's Mom Made a Mistake Any of Us Could Make

Jhessye ShockleyTomorrow it will be two weeks since Jhessye Shockley disappeared from her Arizona home, in what I'm sure feels like a painful eternity to her mother and family members who have been using every minute of that time keeping her name in the news so she can be found. There have been candlelight vigils, a march, and most recently, Shockley's mom and grandmother did a radio interview in which more details were revealed of how the little girl with the sparkling smile was doing before she seemed to vanish into thin air. And some of the things she said in the interview were downright terrifying. Not because of any light they shed on what might have befallen her daughter, but because the circumstances of her disappearance make it clear that something like this could happen to any one of us moms.

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Jerice Hunter said in the interview that on the day her daughter vanished, she was busy running around doing errands, while her older children (now in the custody of child protective services) were in the back of the house doing chores. Hunter explained that she told her daughter to watch TV while she left the house. She thinks she remembers locking the door, and that her daughter was safe, but according to the radio interview, now she is not so sure about anything:

I feel really, really remorseful because I should have said things differently. I think about what I could have done differently, moving a little slower, I should have said go out back ... I mean specific because ... at a time like this, you think about what you should have done.

This is exactly the situation my own kids were in just yesterday, when I was running around trying to get some yard work done. They didn't want to play outside, so I threw them in front of a half-hour show while I scurried around with leaves and flower pots -- way out in the back. Someone could have easily broken a window to get inside. Or they could have wandered out on their own against my knowledge, opening themselves up to lord knows what. But did I do the wrong thing? Of course not. And would I do it again? Of course.

Pending everything this mother has told police is true and we are not looking at another Casey Anthony here, sometimes a child's disappearance is completely random. This was not Madeleine McCann where her parents knowingly left children unsupervised down the street so they could have dinner with friends. While I understand Jerice Hunter beating herself up over her decision to leave her daughter at home with her siblings, she did something that probably thousands of parents do on a daily basis.

Hopefully in a few days, this will all be a moot point and beautiful Jhessye will be back home safe and sound. It certainly would be nice to get some good news about a missing child one of these days.

What do you think happened to Jhessye Shockley?


Image via National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

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