Breaking update as of Friday, Nov. 12, 2021, 3:30 p.m.: The mother of a New Jersey teen who disappeared and was later found safe in New York City was arrested Friday, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office 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.
Breaking update as of Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021 at 10 p.m.: The teen was found in New York City, officials said.
Original story –
EAST ORANGE, N.J. — The FBI has joined the search for a missing 14-year-old girl who vanished after a trip to an Eastf Orange deli on Thursday, Oct. 14.
A post on the Facebook page for East Orange City Hall revealed “East Orange Police, the FBI and the New Jersey State Police are working in collaboration to help find (the girl) and bring her safely home.”
The notice said the child was last seen at Poppie’s Deli on Central Avenue in East Orange. She had earlier stopped at the U.S. Food Market on the same avenue to buy juice and paper towels for her mother.
Last week, Jamie Moore, the teen’s mom, tearfully spoke to PIX11 News about her daughter’s disappearance.
“She’s such a smart girl, she would not stay out overnight,” Jamie Moore sobbed. “I know my daughter. She would not want me to worry.”
The teen is known as a “gamer” who enjoyed PlayStation and participated in “Rec Room” activities.
Jamie Moore said East Orange detectives removed her daughter’s PlayStation equipment and family documents from the home during their investigation. She said the teen did not have her own phone.
Moore also told us the girl had been called to testify in a domestic violence assault case involving her stepfather, an East Orange police officer. The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office told PIX11 News last Thursday it did not believe the criminal case was tied to the child’s disappearance.
An employee at U.S. Food Market, Bassan Awaldi, told PIX11 News last week that a man paid for a purchase the teen made on Oct. 14. He recalled the man was about 30 years old.
“He have a hat and mask,” Awaldi remembered.
Police have secured surveillance footage from U.S. Food Market and also from Poppie’s Deli, the last store where the teen was seen on Central Avenue.
The FBI joined the search after the missing girl’s aunt made an emotional statement to PIX11 News about her niece’s situation.
“My niece is a Black/Afro/Latina girl, you understand?” Yolanda Moore said. “When you’re in a disenfranchised community like East Orange, a chocolate city, there’s a lot of…I would say…ignoring of Black little girls.”
The East Orange City Hall Facebook post said about the case, “If you see her or know of her whereabouts, please call EOPD (East Orange Police Department) at 973-266-5041, 973-266-5030, or 973-266-5060.