PHOENIX – A jury has convicted an Arizona mother of murder in the death her 5-year-old daughter who disappeared in 2011 and was never found.
The verdict was reached Monday in Maricopa County Superior Court.
Authorities say 41-year-old Jerice Hunter beat and kept her daughter Jhessye Shockley in a bedroom closet at the family's suburban Phoenix home depriving her of food and water until she died.
Prosecutors say Hunter stuffed the remains of the child in a suitcase and put it in a trash bin.
The disappearance of Jhessye Shockley set off an intense search of landfills as officers picked through 9,500 tons of garbage over three months.
Hunter's lawyers say there's no proof that Jhessye is dead.