Mother of missing boy still mum even after being released from prison

Published: Nov. 8, 2016 at 1:53 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 8, 2016 at 5:49 AM EST
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - After two and a half years of mystery over the disappearance of 18-month-old Amir Jennings, a jury found his mother, Zinah, guilty of unlawful conduct toward a child.

Trial testimony and the investigation leading up to it provided no clues on what happened to the child sometime around Thanksgiving 2011. There was no explanation for the bloody blanket in Zinah Jennings' car when she crashed it on Christmas Eve of that year or her changing explanations to police or testimony from others who said the young mother threatened to throw her son out of a car, sell him, or give him away.

WEB EXTRA: Interactive Timeline of Amir Jennings' missing persons case

Even today, in 2016,  her attorney doesn't know.

"You know it's pretty hard to argue before a jury that a person has a right to remain silent when all they can see is a mother and a child missing and how come the mother wouldn't cooperate," said Hemphill Pride.

The jury decided against Zinah Jennings and the court gave her the maximum 10-year sentence.

By May 2014, Jennings was eligible for parole. However, board members rejected her request that year and the next.

But a few weeks ago, Jennings got out of prison anyway and was released by the state into a supervised re-entry program about six months before her sentence would have expired.

Still, there has been no word on Amir as frustration continues for the Columbia Police Department.

"I was extremely hopeful that the realization of prison time would jolt her into at least letting us know his whereabouts," said Sgt. Arthur Thomas. "I thought that she didn't think this was real and maybe she was just going through some things. It did not. It didn't move her at all."

Zinah Jennings gave birth to her second child while she was on trial in connection with the disappearance of her first.

Jennings was not paroled, but the Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services is responsible for her supervision until March 30, 2017.

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