Teen brothers charged in death of missing New Jersey girl
Clayton, NJ, United States (4E) – The 12-year-old New Jersey girl discovered dead in a home recycling bin Monday after having been missing for several days, was allegedly murdered by teenage brothers who took her bike.
Authorities reported that Autumn Pasquale, who disappeared on Saturday noon on her way to a friend’s house, was on her white BMX bike.
Police said that the brothers, age 15 and 17, were arrested on Tuesday for Pasquale’s killing.
Hundreds of people helped search for Pasquale from New York to Delaware, law enforcement also included sex offenders as possible suspects.
Her body was located around 10:30 p.m. just five blocks from her home at E. Clayton Street, stowed into a blue home recycling container.
The next day, investigators found the girl’s white bike and several other items in a home on that street.
Neighbors claimed that three teenage brothers reside at the house and one regularly trades BMX bike parts.
Police are certain that the boys lured Pasquale into their home, probably promising parts for the bike.
The teens’ mother turned them in after checking their Facebook accounts and reading their posts, which gave her an idea that her sons might be involved in the case.
A source said that the mother called the police and believed that “she did the right thing by turning them in. She said her heart goes out to the family more than to her boys right now.”
The postings and other evidence led to the discovery of the body and the boys’ arrest.
The boys are charged with first degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, disposal of a body, tampering of evidence and theft. The 15-year-old is also charged with one count of luring. Both are in police custody.
The Gloucester County Medical Examiner’s Office said that Pasquale’s cause of death could be blunt force trauma, consistent with strangulation. There are no signs of sexual assault.
Clayton teens claimed that the 15-year-old suspect “liked” a “Find Autumn” page on Facebook, he also left a comment stating, “that’s good,” on a Facebook status from Autumn’s brother regarding bloodhounds searching for the girl.
The 15-year-old was also present during the Monday night vigil for the victim, hours before he was arrested.
Neighbors said that the mother of the boys was not home over the weekend, when Pasquale was reported missing.