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 stated that Moore had been at several locations in New Jersey while she was away, and also 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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Moore had made a change to her appearance in the weeks prior to leaving home. Stephens asked Moore if she was the missing child. Moore denied it at first, but then he relented.

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 was unable to confirm Moore’s motivation for running, but they assured them that this would be the focus of their ongoing investigation.

Moore remains in the custody of the county prosecutor’s office and the New Jersey Department of Child Protection and Permanency.

Moore vanished after she went to East Orange on October 15th to retrieve a lost payment card. 

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.

Follow Nicholas Katzban Twitter @nicholaskatzban 

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Source: USAToday.com

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