NEWARK — A mother and her live-in boyfriend have been charged assault and child endangerment in connection with the death of a 7-year-old boy.

Khadejrah Rawls, 28, the mother of 7-year-old Michael Moore Jr., has been charged with endangering the welfare of a child, authorities said Monday. In addition, Christopher Spearman, 29, also of Newark, is facing charges of aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child.

According to the Essex County Prosecutor's Office, the charges against Rawls and Spearman are based on injuries sustained by the child. The injuries were discovered Sunday at about 9:54 a.m., when Newark Police and medical workers responded to the couple's North Munn Avenue home on a report of a medical emergency. Authorities say the child was unresponsive when they arrived. He was transported to University Hospital in Newark, where he was pronounced dead at 10:36 a.m.

Later that day, the prosecutor's office confirmed that it was taking over the investigation, and deemed the death "suspicious."

According to the prosecutor's office, the autopsy results have not yet been finalized by the New Jersey Regional Medical Examiner’s Office. The cause of the child's death is still pending.

According to a statement from the prosecutor's office, there were four other children in the home, all younger than Michael Moore. In addition, police also located three pit bull puppies in the home.

The children and pets were removed from the home and the children were placed in the care of child protective services.

Authorities are continuing the investigation, and are asking anyone with information to contact the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Homicide/Major Crimes Task Force tips line at 1-877-TIPS-4EC or 1-877-847-7432.

Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.

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