EAST ORANGE, N.J. — Jamie Moore, the mother of a New Jersey teen who disappeared and was found Thursday after nearly a month, was arrested Friday, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office said.
The 39-year-old mother was accused of physical abuse and neglect. Prosecutors charged her with two counts of second-degree child endangerment.
Moore’s 14-year-old daughter — who was found in New York City Thursday — and 3-year-old son were removed from her custody, according to the prosecutor’s office.
The development capped two weeks of PIX11 News coverage on the girl’s disappearance in a new series called “The Missing.”
Moore had given an extensive interview to reporter Mary Murphy on Oct. 27, sobbing that “[her] daughter would never run away.”
But run away is exactly what the teen did, according to Essex County Prosecutor Theodore Stephens.
Moore’s daughter, who reportedly vanished nearly a month ago after running errands at an East Orange deli, was found after a sharp-eyed good Samaritan spotted her near West 111th Street and Lenox Avenue in Harlem.
The girl had cut off her signature braids, worn on top of her head, and initially responded “no” when asked her name by the good Samaritan — authorities said she seemingly didn’t want to be recognized.
She was taken to a local police precinct and ultimately told officers she had been unhappy at home, according to the NYPD.
“Obviously, this was an extremely resilient and resourceful young lady, and she decided she wanted to be someplace other than where she had been,” Stephens said.
The girl traveled from New Jersey to New York during the month she was missing, even ending up at a Brooklyn homeless shelter for a period of time, officials said.
Moore had told PIX11 News that her daughter vanished after losing the family ‘s debit card during a trip to a deli Oct. 14. Moore said she asked the girl to retrace her steps to find the card, but another relative said Moore was angry and cursed at the girl.
Moore told PIX11 News that police never issued an Amber Alert for her daughter. Those alerts are normally reserved for kidnapping cases.
One of the people who participated in the initial search for the missing teen was Sharif Amenhotep, whose 15-year-old daughter was discovered murdered in South Carolina back in April — after she’d been missing for 24 days.
Amenhotep said his daughter was abducted, and said runaway cases need to be taken more seriously by law enforcement.
The Essex County prosecutor said it appeared Moore’s daughter was not registered in school after the family had moved from Irvington to East Orange.
Stephens said the intense coverage given to the teen’s disappearance played a major role in her being found, especially after surveillance video of the girl emerged Wednesday evening, showing her in the East Orange deli buying juice.
“The attention which the media gives a case makes or breaks a case,” Stephens said.
Editor’s Note: Though the teen’s name was widely publicized during the search for her, PIX11 News is not identifying her now that she’s been found and is considered the victim of an alleged crime.