A frantic search by a group of residents and community leaders who assisted local and county police ended with a brief struggle with a woman wanted for allegedly taking a child from a playground at a housing project nearly three miles away in Newark.
The incident began at around 9:30 a.m. when Newark Police received a call reporting an 8-year-old girl had gone missing from the play area of the Bradley Court Housing Complex in Newark's West Ward.
Newark Police officials scrambled dozens of cops to the area where a search on the ground and air using NPD 1 helicopter was conducted and lasted over 10 hours and into the evening for 8-year-old Nevaeh Blaine a thin African American female, with brown skin, and stood at about 4'0 tall. Blaine was last observed wearing a white t-shirt, blue jean shorts, and purple shoes/ sandals according to authorities.
A group of about 15 community leaders and concerned residents gathered for prayer at the housing complex then began their six-hour search of a 25 city block span to search for Blaine according to residents.
A little after 10 p.m., one of the residents reportedly received a tip that a woman on board an NJ Transit number one bus was transporting a child fitting the description of Blaine and headed towards Newark Penn Station.
The group of residents jumped into our cars and headed towards the train station where they found the woman and Blaine waiting at the bus stop residents said.
A brief physical struggle for the child ensued when one of the leaders when the woman was confronted.
The resident gained the upper hand in the struggle and secured Blaine while the other team members contacted NJ Transit Police who detained the unidentified woman.
A Newark Police spokesperson would only confirm that Blaine was safe and under observation at University Hospital.
It is not clear if the woman was acquainted with Blaine's parents or if she realized that police were searching for the child throughout the day.
There were no immediate reports of a formal arrest of the woman as the investigation remains active and ongoing.