The father of 9-year-old Azuree Charles was charged due to his connection to his son’s murder in Pennsylvania on May 4, 2022. Azuree recovered from pediatric cancer a year before his murder, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
According to court documents, the court charged Jean Charles with first-degree murder, abuse of corpse, unlawful restraint of minor, strangulation, concealing the death of a child and tampering with physical evidence.
Amid waiting for their requested search warrant for Charles’ Brackenridge Avenue apartment, investigators searched an abandoned building. They found an olive-green hoodie and black pants with mud stains on the property.
Security footage allegedly showed a man with clothes that matched the ones found in the abandoned building. But the video also showed the man carrying a shovel and pushing a bike around 3:06 a.m. on May 4 near Dent and Haser drives, on the same day Azuree was found. Haser drive was also the location police discovered Azuree’s body.
Pennsylvania police found the shovel in a garbage can on Haser drive and ran a DNA test on it and the clothes they found, both providing a match for Charles.
Tire tracks from a bike and footprints were also found leading to the area where the man was in the surveillance video.
The child’s 29-year-old mother, Luella Elien, was also charged with aggravated assault and endangering children.
Police received a call from Elien reporting her son missing after allegedly finding her security camera in a glass of water, seeing ketchup all over her room with a metal gasoline canister on his bed, and seeing his bicycle gone.
But when police arrived, Azuree’s room was cleaned.
“A mop and mop bucket were observed near the doorway of Azuree’s bedroom,” investigators stated in their complaint.
Investigators could locate the child’s body, which was naked and covered in mud and hidden under a foam cooler and lawn furniture, after 70-year-old neighbor, Osie Taylor, found the boy in a wooded area behind his home. His pajamas were found wet and muddy, hanging on low tree branches close by.
“I knew something wasn’t right because my lawn chair was out of place,” Taylor told the Tribune-Review.
Police interviewed a juvenile neighbor who said he was scared after hearing Azuree screaming, “No, no, no, I’m sorry,” around 2:30 a.m. while watching TV on May 4. The neighbor went to bed and didn’t hear any more screams.
Charles and Elien have their next court appearance scheduled for Oct. 12.