Mother of Jhessey Shockley, missing Ariz. 5-year-old, released from jail; time ran out on filing charges

Jerice Hunter during her release from jail Monday Morning

(CBS/AP/KPHO) PHOENIZ, Az. - Jerice Hunter, the mother of missing Arizona 5-year-old Jhessey Shockley, was released from jail Monday because no charges had been filed against her.

The 38-year-old mother was arrested a week ago on suspicion of felony child abuse. Prosecutors failed to file charges against her within 48 hours of her first court appearance, so she was free to leave.

Prosecutors will wait for more results of the police investigation into the child's disappearance before deciding if they will charge Hunter, said Jerry Cobb, a spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.

CBS affiliate KPHO reports investigators are following new leads and completing forensic evidence analysis, said Glendale police spokesman Sgt. Brent Coombs.

Jhessye Shockley was last seen Oct. 11 at her family's apartment. Her mother said she went out for an errand and left her child there to be cared for by her older siblings. Hunter continues to say she has nothing to do with her daughter vanishing, and has been critical of investigators.

Police do not believe they will find the 5-year-old alive.

Jhessey Shockley's teenage sister recently told police that their mother had told her to lie about the child's disappearance. According to court documents, she said her mother kept the girl in a closet and that she had cuts, black eyes and other bruises.

Child welfare has removed Hunter's other children from her care, including a newborn, but declined to say why.

Complete coverage of the Jhessye Shockley case on Crimesider