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New Jersey Girl Slated To Testify Against Cop Stepfather Missing For Three Weeks
Jashyah Moore went missing after her mom sent her out to run an errand, but law enforcement says they don't think it's related to the other case in which she's allegedly the victim.
The family of a teenage girl who went missing while running a morning errand in mid-October is asking for assistance in finding her.
Jashyah Moore, 14, went to the U.S. Market on Central Avenue in East Orange, New Jersey around 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 14, her mother Jamie Moore told news station WPIX in New York. But she came back and told her mother that she'd lost the family's EBT card — a debit card used for food assistance purchases — intended to pay for the orange juice and paper towels.
"I just said, 'Backtrack your steps,'" Jamie Moore told WPIX.
When Jashyah didn't come back within the hour, Jamie Moore went looking for her, stopping at any of the number of delis along the road. Having had no luck, she flagged down a police car and reported her young daughter missing, she told the station.
Jamie Moore said that police searched her house that day, taking her daughter's video games, personal papers and Jamie Moore's phone.
Police reportedly took surveillance footage that showed Jashyah Moore in the U.S. Market at some point that morning; clerks told WPIX that a man in a baseball cap and face mask paid for "juice and some candy." Police also discovered footage of Jashyah in Poppie's Deli, about a block from U.S. Market.
That is the last known footage of the girl; her family and the city of East Orange say she was seen there around 10:00 a.m. in khaki pants, a black jacket and black boots.
No one has reportedly seen Jashyah since — and her case got little attention before the family created a poster online and sent it to WPIX reporter Mary Murphy about 10 days after she went missing.
They told Murphy that Jashyah had recently received a notice to appear before a grand jury to testify against her estranged stepfather. The man, an East Orange police officer, is reportedly charged with assault for a 2020 incident with the girl in which family members allege the man physically assaulted her.
"I saw him punch my niece twice in the face," her aunt, Yolanda Moore, told Murphy. "And this guy’s in his 30s. And he’s really tall and he’s really big."
The officer and Jamie Moore are currently separated.
In a statement, Essex County prosecutors told WPIX that they don't believe the cases are connected.
"At this point, the domestic violence assault and the status of the missing person do not appear to be related; however, it is being monitored by law enforcement," wrote public information officer Katherine Carter.
Moore's family felt like the case was being ignored.
"When you're in a disenfranchised community like East Orange ... there’s a lot of, I would say, ignoring of Black little girls," her aunt told Murphy in a report broadcast on Oct. 28 — two weeks after the girl's disappearance.
A press release issued by the city of East Orange on Wednesday indicated that the FBI had joined the investigation being conducted by the East Orange police and the New Jersey State Police.
None offered comment in response to a request from NBC News.