EAST ORANGE, N.J. — Jashyah Moore, a 14-year-old girl from New Jersey who had been missing for nearly a month until she was found safe in New York City, ran away and was evading being found while her community and multiple agencies searched for her across the North Jersey area, officials said.
A man, who officials described as a “good Samaritan,” eventually recognized Moore while she was living in a shelter in Brooklyn, acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore Stephens said Friday morning.
Stephens said Moore had been staying at multiple locations while she was missing, in New Jersey and elsewhere.
“Obviously, this was an extremely resilient and resourceful young woman,” Stephens said of Moore’s ability to survive on her own for several weeks without any known source of money.
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The man approached Moore, who had changed her appearance since leaving home weeks before, and asked if she was the missing girl, Stephens said, which Moore first denied before relenting.
An investigation into Moore’s reasons for leaving home is ongoing.
Law enforcement will meet with Moore’s mother, Jaime, later Friday in an effort to ascertain why the girl may have left home.
Stephens could not confirm whether there was strife at home that could have motivated Moore to run but assured that would be a focus of their continued investigation.
Moore remains in the custody of the county prosecutor’s office and the New Jersey Department of Child Protection and Permanency.
Moore went missing after she left her house on Oct. 15 to look for a payment card she lost on her way to a deli in East Orange.
After weeks of searching, East Orange police teamed with officers from Orange, the Essex County sheriff’s and prosecutor’s offices and the New Jersey State Police, as well as the FBI, which took an interest in the case since it received national coverage, with some in the community pleading for the same widespread attention given to recently disappeared 22-year-old Gabby Petito, who was found dead of strangulation in September.
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