- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 8, 2003

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) The FBI joined the search yesterday for a woman charged with child endangerment stemming from the death of a 7-year-old boy in her care and mistreatment of two of his brothers.

Authorities have been flooded with tips that the boys' caretaker, Sherry L. Murphy, left New Jersey, Newark Police Lt. Derek Glenn said.

"Some of the information suggests that she is possibly in a Southern state with other family members," Lt. Glenn said. He declined to say which state.

The body of Faheem Williams was found Sunday in a plastic storage bin, a day after his brothers were found burned and starving in a locked basement room. An autopsy found that Faheem died of starvation and blunt force to the stomach, and his death was ruled a homicide.

Further tests will be done to determine whether Faheem was already dead when Miss Murphy moved to Newark from nearby Irvington about a month ago, Lt. Glenn said.

Miss Murphy, 41, is a cousin of the boys' mother, Melinda Williams. She began caring for the boys when their mother was jailed on assault charges in March.

The search for Miss Murphy, a go-go dancer, was focused on bars in Newark and Irvington, Newark Mayor Sharpe James said. She was nearly captured late Monday, but police missed her by minutes, Mr. James said.

Authorities also used a cadaver dog to search Miss Murphy's former home in Irvington, but would not say whether they found anything. They went there after the home's new owner reported a foul odor.

Miss Murphy, who has five children ages 8, 13, 14, 15 and 18 had moved to the house a couple of months ago.

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