Runaway NJ teen’s godfather says he saw evidence of mom’s abuse when girl was 2

The Missing
Jamie Moore

Jamie Moore, the mother who pleaded for the return of her missing NJ teen was arrested and faces child endangerment charges (Essex County Prosecutor’s Office | PIX11 News)

EAST ORANGE, NJ — The East Orange man who said he was the only “dad” a 14-year-old girl ever knew claimed the teen’s mother, Jamie Moore, showed signs she was abusing the child since the girl was small.

“When she was two years old, Jamie tried to jump on her, when they were living in Jersey City,” Omar Muze told PIX11 News Tuesday.  “I’ve been trying to keep her with me since she was little.”

But with no father’s name listed on the girl’s birth certificate, Muze had no legal right to custody of the teen. During the search for the 14-year-old, Moore said Muze was not the girl’s biological father, but said he’s been a “father figure” to the teen. 

The girl told New York City police she ran away on Oct. 14 because of repeated abuse at the hands of her mother.

“Jamie knew once they found [the girl], the truth was going to come out and her a-s would be in jail,” Muze said Tuesday.

He said he witnessed Moore “trying to get at her” after the teen lost the family’s debit card Oct. 14 during a trip to the deli, “and I told her ‘to get the f–k away from her.'”

“I told the police, FBI, prosecutor, everyone,” Muze said.

PIX11 News started reporting on the missing teen in late October.  

Her mother sobbed on camera and said her daughter would never stay out overnight or run away because “she wouldn’t want me to worry.”

Once the girl was found on Nov. 11 near a Harlem homeless shelter–and police revealed she was the victim of alleged abuse–PIX11 News stopped identifying her by name.

Last Thursday night, when we learned the girl had been found unharmed, reporter Mary Murphy reached the mom, Jamie Moore, by phone.  The mother joyfully said “I fell to my knees” when the Essex County Prosecutor’s office notified her the teen was safe.

Moore also said she was staying in a hotel that night, after the chaotic events of that week.  But Muze said he thinks Moore knew the police were coming for her.

“I told Jamie, ‘Once they find [the girl], your a-s is going to jail,” Muze recalled.

Jamie Moore was arrested Friday, Nov.12, after her daughter had been debriefed by police and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.

The 10 page criminal complaint, obtained by PIX11 News, contains multiple allegations of abuse over the last, two years.

And for the first time, we learned the teen’s version of what happened at home on Amherst Street in East Orange, after she’d lost her mother’s Family First debit card, used to purchase groceries.

According to the complaint, “The victim stated that on the day she went missing, Jamie Moore had verbally berated her and cursed at her….Jamie Moore then grabbed the victim from her neck, scratching her neck causing a visible scar and then physically assaulting her.”

Moore allegedly told her daughter not to come home until she found the card.

“The victim stated that she left and knew she could not go back home because mom would beat her and leave her all bruised up,” the complaint continues.

PIX11 News learned Sunday evening the complaint contained allegations of serious physical abuse, including the girl’s claims that her mother had stabbed her in the shoulder with a steak knife, sprayed bleach in her eyes, and hit her over the head with a frying pan, among other types of alleged assaults.

The complaint also accused Jamie Moore of educational neglect, “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 to not enroll the victim in school during the 2021/2022 school year.”

The victim “also disclosed that she was forced to cook otherwise her and her younger brother won’t eat.”

The complaint also said, “The victim disclosed that she was forced by her mother to attend to her younger brother when he woke up at night and was not permitted to sleep during the day.”

During the search for the teen, the little brother, who is only 3, told PIX11 News that his sister wanted to sleep all the time and he would try to wake her up.

The teen made another allegation that “Jamie Moore also forced her to panhandle and demands she bring a certain amount of money home or she will be beat up.”

The police investigation corroborated that the victim was known for panhandling in the area, according to the complaint.

The 14-year-old girl and her 3-year-old brother were placed in the custody of New Jersey child welfare authorities on Friday, after their mother’s arrest.

Jamie Moore spent her 40th birthday Monday in the Essex County Correctional Facility.

A virtual hearing about her detention will take place Wednesday before Judge Michael Clavin in Essex County Superior Court.

The teen’s godfather said he didn’t witness the evidence of repeated abuse over the last two years, but he pointed out that he worked overnight shifts in a supermarket and slept in the morning.  

Omar Muze said he did ask the girl about her mother.  

“[She] was always smart.  She was always happy.  And when Jamie come around, she clammed up,” Muze said, “like they were holding secrets.”

Jamie Moore will get her turn to speak Wednesday, when she appears in court for her first hearing.

Muze said police already came to his house with a warrant this past Friday morning to seize blunt objects in the household that were allegedly used to assault the teen.

Read the criminal complaint below:

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