7-year-old’s death ruled a homicide in Newark

Mark Harper

NEWARK, NJ — Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens II announced Jan. 23 that the death of 7-year-old Aydin Brown in Newark has been ruled a homicide and that the cause of death is blunt force injury. Stephens has also announced that authorities have charged Mark Harper, 36, of Union, with murder. Harper had previously been charged with endangering the welfare of a child.

The child was pronounced dead the morning of Monday, Jan. 21, at Beth Israel Medical Center. Newark police officers were dispatched to a residence in the 100 block of Weequahic Avenue on reports of a sick or injured child. Arriving officers observed an unresponsive child within the residence. Police and emergency medical personnel rushed the victim to the hospital.

This matter is being investigated by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Homicide Task Force, which includes detectives from the Newark Police Department. As a result of the investigation, charges were upgraded from endangering the welfare of a child to murder, according to Chief Assistant Prosecutor Thomas S. Fennelly. Harper, who has been identified as Aydin’s mother’s boyfriend has been lodged in the Essex County Correctional Facility pending a detention hearing in NJ Superior Court.

The investigation is active and ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to call the Prosecutor’s Tips Line at 877-847-7432.

The charge against this defendant is merely an allegation. He is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

No further information is available at this time.