A Pennsylvania man has been charged in connection with the death of his 9-year-old son, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Forty-year-old Jean Charles was charged with abuse of a corpse, concealing the death of a child, and first-degree murder for the death of Azuree Charles on Wednesday.
Azuree was found dead on May 4 in New Kensington. The little boy had been strangled and found nude in a wooded area behind his home. Azuree was found laying in the mud covered by a foam cooler and lawn furniture. His pajamas were found hanging in branches nearby. The boy’s mother, 29-year-old Luella Elien, was also arrested in connection with her son’s death and charged with aggravated assault of a victim under 13, child endangerment and hindering the apprehension or prosecution of another person.
Charles’ DNA was allegedly found on a shovel located in a garbage can on nearby Haser Drive. The boy’s red bike was also found nearby. Other children in Azuree’s neighborhood told the authorities that they often heard screaming coming from the home, including on the morning Azuree was found dead. Around 2:30 a.m., one neighborhood boy said he heard Azuree yell, “No, no, no, I’m sorry!” Azuree had reportedly just recovered from pediatric cancer.
Westmoreland County District Attorney Nicole Ziccarelli said at a press conference that the tragedy had rocked the community. “This horrific tragedy has rocked the New Kensington community,” she said. “The trauma that has affected us all pales in comparison to what Azuree no doubt experienced.”
Charles is also charged with unlawful restraint of a minor by a parent, strangulation, concealing the death of a child and tampering with physical evidence. Elien was granted bond in the amount of $250,000. Charles was not granted bail.
“I just hope justice is done for this little kid because this little kid didn’t deserve this,” said Osie Taylor, a neighbor who found Azuree’s body.
Charles and Elien are scheduled to appear in court for preliminary hearings on Oct. 12.