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Crime News Breaking News

9-Year-Old Who Beat Pediatric Cancer Found Slain, Father Arrested On Abuse Charges

Azuree Charles was found dead under a lawn chair left in a wooded area on Wednesday. His father, Jean Charles, was arrested shortly thereafter over a November incident in which he allegedly abused the nine-year-old.

By Dorian Geiger
A police handout of Jean Charles

A Pennsylvania father was taken into police custody on assault charges last week, one day after his nine-year-old son’s body turned up underneath a lawn chair.

Azuree Charles, who was reported missing on Tuesday, was found dead on Wednesday in a wooded area behind an elderly neighbor's home, the Pittsburgh Tribune Review reported.

The nine-year-old was reportedly missing his shoes and socks when authorities discovered him. Autopsy results are now pending.

“I knew something wasn’t right because my lawn chair was out of place,” 70-year-old neighbor Osie Taylor Jr., who found the boy’s body, told the Tribune Review. Azuree Charles' body was found under the misplaced chair near Taylor's property.

Taylor described the nine-year-old as a “gentle, nice kid.” Neighbors also told CBS that the child had recently survived a bout with pediatric cancer.

Jean James Charles, 40, was taken into custody on Thursday on misdemeanor assault charges, according to jail records. His arrest stems from a 2021 incident during which the father allegedly attacked his nine-year-old son over making noise and gave the young boy a black eye, the Tribune Review reported based on court filings in the case. 

New Kensington police had received a report regarding the suspected abuse, which is said to have taken place on Nov. 16, on Nov. 24 and charged Jean Charles on Dec. 22. 

"This is a horrible tragedy for our community here at New Kensington and our county at large," Westmoreland County District Attorney Nicole Ziccarelli told reporters during a press conference New Kensington City Hall on May 5. “We will not rest until we determine what or who caused this child's death."

No arrests have been made in Azuree Charles’ death, though prosecutors say they have identified a person of interest.

"We do have a person of interest," Ziccarelli added. "I can't comment any further at this time as this is an ongoing investigation."

Officials haven’t revealed whether the person of interest is Jean Charles.

Police are currently seeking to question a person captured by surveillance cameras, who was seen walking swiftly in the East Ken Manor neighborhood around the time Azuree Charles vanished on Tuesday, CBS News reported.

No further information was released by law enforcement regarding the nine-year-old’s killing this week.

Jean Charles is being held without bond at a Westmoreland County detention center, according to online jail records obtained by Oxygen.com. It’s unclear if he’s retained legal representation at this time.

Anyone with additional information pertaining to the open case is urged to contact the New Kensington Police Department by calling 724-339-7533.