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Missing New Jersey Teen Ran Away, Lived At Homeless Shelter, To Escape Family Abuse, Officials Allege

Jamie Moore, 39, is accused of spraying bleach in her 14-year-old daughter's eyes and stabbing her in the shoulder with a steak knife, "causing a laceration that is still visible," according to a criminal complaint.

By Dorian Geiger
Mom Charged With Abuse After Missing Girl Found In Shelter

A missing New Jersey teenager, who disappeared nearly a month ago, hid out at a Brooklyn homeless shelter to escape her abusive family, officials said.

Jamie Moore, 39, has been charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child in connection with the disappearance of her 14-year-old daughter Jashyah Moore, the Office of the Essex County Prosecutor announced on Monday.

On Nov. 12, East Orange officials announced that the Jashyah Moore was safely located in New York City. She'd reportedly altered he appearance by cutting off her braids and had been sleeping at an outer borough homeless shelter, WPIX reported.

Jashyah Moore's family reported her missing on Oct. 14 shortly after she left her East Orange home to get groceries. Prosecutors now allege the 14-year-old ran intentionally ran away from home to escape a myriad of physical and verbal abuse at the hands of her mother, Jamie Moore.

“Obviously, this was an extremely resilient and resourceful young lady, and she decided she wanted to be someplace other than where she had been,” Theodore Stephens II, the acting prosecutor for Essex County, told the outlet.

According to a criminal complaint obtained by Oxygen.com, Jamie Moore allegedly sprayed bleach in her daughter's eyes, yanked her braids out, and stabbed the teen in the shoulder with a steak knife, "causing a laceration that is still visible."

The 39-year-old mother clubbed her daughter with a frying pan, a broom handle, a clothes hanger, and a can of Febreeze, as well, prosecutors alleged. 

Under questioning, the 14-year-old also told investigators that her mother forced her to panhandle on occasion to provide for the family.

"[Jamie Moore] demands she bring a certain amount of money home or she will be beat up," a separate probable cause affidavit stated.

The East Orange mother also barred her daughter from attending school for several months, instead forcing the teen to care for her younger brother, the complaint alleged. Jashyah Moore told detectives the abuse had been occurring for approximately two years.

The 14-year-old ultimately fled her home in mid-October in fear for her own safety, officials said. 

"The [v]ictim stated that she left and knew she could not go back home because mom would beat her and leave her all bruised up," the affidavit added.

Jamie Moore later told investigators her daughter left the home around 7:30 a.m. on Oct. 14 to get groceries. She claimed the teen returned 15 minutes later, but misplaced their Family First food subsistence card. Jamie Moore subsequently told police she instructed her daughter to "retrace her steps." Jashyah Moore, however, never returned home. Her mother reported her missing hours later.

At the time, officials, who had few clues to work with, said the last known sighting of the 14-year-old was near an East Orange Deli.

Jashyah Moore's sudden disappearance, which was investigated by a handful of police agencies, including the FBI, subsequently garnered national headlines. Amid a series of press conferences and media interviews, Jamie Moore repeatedly insisted her daughter would never run away. 

"She was abducted," Jamie Moore told reporters at a press briefing, according to WPIX. "I don't know who did it, but we're looking for you."

The New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency have since removed Jashyah Moore, as well as Jamie Moore's 3-year-old son, from her custody.

Jamie Moore was booked into the Essex County Correctional Facility on Nov. 12, according to online jail records obtained by Oxygen.com. She’s being held without bond, pending a detention hearing on Wednesday. Moore pleaded not guilty during a court appearance on Saturday. It’s unclear if she has retained legal counsel.

Officials declined to comment further on the pending case this week.