A New Jersey family is desperately searching for a 14-year-old girl who went missing on Oct. 14 after going to a store near her home. According to PIX11 News, the family has become increasingly frustrated in the last two weeks, saying the case of JaShyah Moore isn’t receiving much attention from police.
“My niece is a Black, Afro-Latina girl, you understand?” the teen’s aunt, Yolanda Moore, told PIX11 News. “When you’re’ in a disenfranchised community like East Orange, there’s a lot of, I would say, ignoring of Black little girls.”
JaShyah’s mother, Jamie Moore, said the teen went to the U.S. Food Market on Central Avenue in East Orange, but then came back home quickly because she couldn’t find the EBT card she needed. After she was told to go back and retrace her steps, the girl went back out to look for the card.
But she never came back after leaving for a second time. Jamie, who went out looking for her child when she didn’t come back an hour later, flagged down a police car and reported her daughter missing.
While searching the family’s house for any possible leads, police took the teen’s video games and personal documents, as well as the mother’s phone. Police also looked at surveillance footage from another deli on Central Avenue that showed the teen at the market on the day she disappeared, Crime Online reports.
Employees at the market said the girl was seen with a man who paid for her items. The family suspects that the child’s stepfather, who is a police officer, may be involved in her disappearance. JaShyah’s aunt said the stepfather is facing an assault charge after punching her niece last year.
“I saw him punch my niece twice in the face,” the aunt said. “And this guy’s in his 30s. And he’s really tall and he’s really big.”
Jamie said she recently received a letter stating that the stepfather’s case is going to a grand jury.
“I find it extremely convenient and coincidental that my niece goes missing a couple weeks later,” JaShyah’s aunt said.
Police said they don’t believe that the teen’s disappearance is related to the assault case.
“The missing person’s case is being handled by municipal authorities in East Orange,” said Katherine Carter, the prosecutor’s office’s public information officer. “At this point, the domestic violence assault and the status of the missing person do not appear to be related; however, it is being monitored by law enforcement.”
Jamie said her daughter had a passion for making YouTube videos and cooking. She also loved to spend time with her family.
“Nothing would keep her away from me,” the devastated mother said. “Nothing would keep her away from her little brother. And she’s such a smart girl. She would not stay out overnight. She would not want me to worry.”