East Orange teen found safe in NYC, her mother arrested for abuse and neglect

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EAST ORANGE, NJ — The night of Nov. 11, the East Orange teenager who had been missing for four weeks was spotted in New York City — just one day before a scheduled candlelight vigil praying for the 14-year-old’s safe return. The teenager, a runaway, had been staying at a women’s shelter in Brooklyn. In a stunning turn of events, the teen’s mother, Jamie Moore, 40, was arrested Nov. 12 by detectives from the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit and the East Orange Police Department. Moore’s two children, the 14-year-old and a 3-year-old boy, were removed from her custody by the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency. 

According to a criminal complaint filed by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office against Moore, which detailed horrific allegations of abuse that occurred within the household, Moore endangered the welfare of the teenager by “stabbing the victim to her shoulder, causing a laceration that is still visible; spraying bleach in her eye; pulling her braids out; striking her in the head with a frying pan; striking her with a broom handle; and being hit with a Febreze can.” The complaint also includes a charge that Moore blocked the child’s air passages, by placing her “knees on (the teen’s) neck and back, causing her to struggle to breathe and striking her repeatedly with hands and knees.” Moore was also accused of neglect when it came to the teen’s education, specifically by forcing the victim to “log out of online instruction and not attend classes while enrolled in virtual learning during the 2020-2021 school year and then not to enroll the victim in school during the 2021-2022 school year.” 

According to the ECPO, Moore was charged with two counts of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child, encompassing the allegations of physical abuse and neglect. Moore was lodged at the Essex County Correctional Facility, pending an appearance in the Essex County Central Judicial Processing Court; the court date was scheduled for Nov. 17, after press time. 

At a Nov. 12 press conference, acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens II thanked the EOPD, Essex County’s Sheriff’s Office, FBI, New Jersey State Police, Orange Police Department, Elizabeth Police Department and NYPD for their work in finding the missing teen. 

“Thankfully, today’s press conference is so much different than the one we did last Wednesday,” Stephens said after the teen had been found and referring to a Nov. 10 press conference in which he announced that the reward for information for the teen’s whereabouts had increased to $20,000. “Since I came to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office in 2018, the prosecutor’s office is focused on melding the professionalism, which this office brings to the table, along with collaboration. Collaborating with our tremendous law enforcement partners who bring so much talent and energy to every situation. Today’s success is a result of that sort of an operation, melding the cooperation, as well as an all-hands-on-deck approach that was utilized by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office along with our great team of partners.”

Stephens also thanked the many concerned citizens who turned their concerns into action, donated money to the cause and utilized social media to bring this story to the forefront. 

Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura also praised the collaboration between law enforcement and the community that led to finding the teen. 

“Clearly this was a great result based a lot on what you folks were able to do for us. We appreciate it very much. With this particular case, the attention that you gave it brought this to a successful conclusion,” Fontoura said during the press conference.

East Orange Police Chief Phyllis Bindi expressed gratitude to the EOPD’s many law enforcement partners in this endeavor. 

“First and foremost, I would like to express the absolute joy this has brought our police department and our entire community to see (her) safe return,” Bindi said during the press conference. “I would also like to thank the members of our community and public who worked together with us on bringing (her) home safely. I would like to thank the mayor and his administration. From Day One, Mayor (Ted) Green made it perfectly clear to me to pull in any and all resources needed to bring (this teenager) home safely. This is a perfect example for the potential to have positive outcomes when we come together and work as a whole community.”

Green was also relieved of the outcome and thanked the countless individuals who helped. 

“When we work together as a team, these are the results. From Day One, our top priority was working in collaborations with the different agencies and making sure that we brought this young lady home safe and healthy,” Green said during the press conference. “We’re very grateful, and what we’re offering to our young people is that at any time we can be of some help and you need to reach out to someone, we are here for you.”