NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. (KDKA) — The father of a 9-year-old boy found dead in New Kensington earlier this year has been charged in his death.

Jean Charles faces multiple charges, including first degree murder, criminal homicide, abuse of a corpse and strangulation in the death of Azura Charles, Westmoreland County District Attorney Nicole Ziccarelli announced Wednesday after a months-long investigation. She reported that the cause of the boy’s death was mechanical suffocation.

The boy’s mother, Luella Elien, was also arrested on multiple charges, Ziccarelli said, including aggravated assault on a victim under the age of 13, endangering the welfare of children and hindering the apprehension or prosecution of another person.

Jean Charles was already in prison, Ziccarelli said. Earlier this year, he was charged with child endangerment and battery. According to court records, Gene allegedly assaulted a 9-year-old boy last year, hitting the child so hard that he suffered a bruise. Police did not say if the 9-year-old boy was Azura.

The boy’s body was found in a covered chair behind a shed in woodland near where he lived after he was reported missing. Neighbors said he had recently beaten childhood cancer and was looking forward to a second chance at life.

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