9-year-old boy found dead in Pennsylvania woods murdered, authorities say

A young boy found dead in Pennsylvania has been murdered, local authorities have confirmed.

Nine-year-old Azuree Charles was found in a wooded area near a house in New Kensington, Westmoreland County, on Wednesday. On Thursday, the county attorney confirmed he was killed.

“I can re-confirm this was a homicide,” Westmoreland County District Attorney Nicole Ziccarelli said. WTAE. “The child died at the hands of another person.”

Ms Ziccarelli said a person of interest had been identified in the case but gave no further details, citing an ongoing investigation.

Azurée’s father, Jean Charles, was arrested on Wednesday, but apparently on unrelated charges. According to a criminal complaint, Mr Charles is accused of hitting one of his children in the eye in November 2021. The complaint does not identify the child.

At Thursday’s press conference, Ms Ziccarelli gave little information about the case. However, when a reporter asked if the suspect was still at large, she replied that the public had nothing to worry about.

“Based on everything we know at this stage of the investigation – again, at this stage – we don’t believe there is a danger to the community as a whole,” she said. .

The Azuree community expressed their devastation at his death. On Wednesday, the local school district sent a letter to families offering grief counselors and other services.

“It is with a heavy heart that I share the news that one of our elementary students passed away suddenly this morning before school,” wrote New Kensington-Arnold School District Superintendent Dr. Chris Sefcheck. “A tragedy like this is not easy to accept, while causing many levels of grief in our close-knit community.”

The child’s aunt, Madorne Lemaime, remembers Azurée as a gentle and respectful child.

“He was the friendliest child,” Ms Lemaime said. TribLIVE. “When they were at the grocery store, he was running around saying ‘hi’ and asking if people wanted to be friends.”

She added that Azuree was recovering from health issues stemming from her premature birth, including multiple surgeries.

“He had just overcome all his health issues,” the grieving aunt said.

As the investigation continues, police have asked the public to provide any information they may have.

“This is a horrific tragedy for our community here in New Kensington and our county as a whole,” Ms. Ziccarelli said. “If you can provide anything about the life or death of Azuree, please contact the New Kensington Police Department at 724-339-7533.”

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