A missing N.J. teen is safely located in New York City after almost a month
A New Jersey teen who disappeared last month after taking a trip to a New Jersey deli was found safe in New York City, authorities say.
"It appears she was a runaway," acting Essex County, N.J., prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens said Friday.
JaShyah Moore, 14, was located in the city, Stephens announced the previous day. He said that JaShyah, who is from East Orange, N.J., was safe and is being provided "all appropriate services." The deli where she was last seen is about 25 miles from Harlem, where she was found.
According to New York TV station PIX11 News, the New York Police Department (NYPD) said a "sharp-eyed good Samaritan" spotted JaShyah in Harlem on Thursday.
The local broadcaster said the person went over to the teen and asked her whether she was JaShyah, to which she initially responded, "no," as if she did not want to be recognized.
Investigators believe JaShyah was in several locations in the New Jersey-New York area over the past few weeks but ended up staying in a shelter in Brooklyn.
Stephens told reporters Friday that JaShyah did not want to return home and that she was "more comfortable where she was."
Later on Friday, New Jersey prosecutors said they had charged JaShyah's mother, Jamie Moore, with two counts of second degree endangering the welfare of a child, including allegations of physical abuse and neglect.
The NYPD told PIX11 News that JaShyah was taken to a local police precinct where she ultimately told officers she had been "unhappy at home."
JaShyah and her 3-year-old brother are now in custody of the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency, prosecutors said.
Before going missing, JaShyah was last seen on the morning of Oct. 14 after she took a trip to Poppies Deli, according to a release from the city of East Orange. The teen had earlier gone to the store to pick up items for her family.
The Essex County Crime Stoppers offered a reward of up to $20,000 to try to help find the teen.
Before JaShyah was found, her mother pushed back against the idea that her daughter may have run away.
"She did not run away. She was abducted. I don't know who did it, but we're looking for you," Jamie Moore said at a news conference on Wednesday.
Stephens said earlier this week that more than 50 law enforcement officers were searching the area, retracing the teen's steps and following up on old and new leads.