Jerice Hunter insists she's a good mother despite her past conviction and four-year prison stint for child abuse.
"I'm not going to condone my behavior in the past," said the mother of missing 5-year-old Jhessye Shockley in the second installment of an exclusive interview with Hunter. "I did spank my daughter and I felt like afterwards, 'Yes, I did go overboard.'"
Hunter sat down with CBS 5 News on Wednesday in her first in-depth interview since her daughter went missing just over four weeks ago. The first portion of the exclusive interview was posted and aired Wednesday night.
Court records show Hunter was accused of using an extension cord and belt to discipline her older children, leaving bruises and open wounds. The Glendale mother says she did it to keep her kids on the straight and narrow.
"I come from a culture to where if you're stealing from people, they will kill you, they will hurt you."
Hunter admits that when she looks back on using a belt and an extension cord that "was severe."
"But that's the way I was raised," she said. "And I have learned since then that just because I was raised a certain way does not mean that's necessarily the best way to raise my children."
Hunter admits that as recently as March her relatives called Child Protective Services when they reportedly saw bruises on her children at a family reunion. But she said she believes they had an ulterior motive.
"When CPS showed up, she sat here for two hours speaking to me," Hunter said. "She spoke to each and every last one of my children, including Jhessye. She found absolutely no reason to return, because there was no abuse."
Hunter's past has clouded the case of her missing daughter. It has led to accusations, even by some family members, that she had something to do with the little girl's disappearance.
"Jhessye is a product of my body, ma'am, OK? A piece of me is out there," Hunter said.
"Somebody knows something. She did not disappear into thin air."
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