Jashyah Moore: Missing Black teen is found after search gets boost from Gabby Petito case

‘Jashyah is currently safe and is being provided all appropriate services,’ says Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore Stephens

Nathan Place
New York
Friday 12 November 2021 22:20
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Surveillance video shows Jashyah Moore on day she disappeared

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Jashyah Moore, a 14-year-old New Jersey girl who was missing for almost a month, has been found alive and safe in New York City, officials say.

“Jashyah is currently safe and is being provided all appropriate services,” Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore Stephens said on Thursday. “She will be returned to New Jersey shortly.”

Mr Stephens did not provide any other information.

Jashyah disappeared on 14 October after her mother sent her to pick up some groceries at a deli in East Orange, New Jersey. On Thursday, police released security camera footage of the teen at that deli, where an older man appeared to pay for her purchases.

Police say that they have identified the man, and that he was helpful to the investigation.

From the beginning, Jashyah’s mother, Jamie Moore, has insisted her daughter was kidnapped.

“She did not run away. She was abducted,” Ms Moore told CNN earlier this week. “I don’t know who did it, but we’re looking for you.”

Ms Moore says Jashyah is not the type to wander off on her own.

“She, Jashyah, is a smart girl and I can’t reiterate that enough,” the distraught mother told WABC. “She would not stay out, she would not go out, go off with anyone. She’s a homebody, she plays video games, she likes to cook, she plays with her little brother, he’s like her best friend. I cannot imagine what she might be going through, just being away from us for this long, away from her family who loves her very much.”

Jashyah’s case received more attention after the disappearance of Gabby Petito, a 22-year-old woman who went missing in Wyoming during a road trip with her fiance.

Ms Petito, who was white, drew international media coverage and enormous police resources, and her body was eventually found. During the search, some observers complained that missing people of colour typically receive less attention.

Last week, as New Jersey authorities searched for Jashyah, Mr Stephens alluded to that disparity.

“This reminds us that the lives of little Black and little brown girls are just as important as everybody else’s lives,” the prosecutor told CNN.

“And we know that Gabby Petito, which is a very, very notorious case that was constantly in the news, did yield results and information. So we are hoping that today’s effort will also bring some information so we can find young Jashyah.”

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