Two teen brothers have been charged with murder in the death of 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale, Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean F. Dalton announced at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
The boys, ages 15 and 17, are facing first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, disposing of a body, tampering with evidence and theft charges. The 15-year-old boy was also charged with one count of luring.
Autumn Pasquale was last seen Saturday around 12:30 p.m. when she left her Clayton, New Jersey home on her bicycle and never returned. She was reported missing around 9:30 p.m. that night after she missed her curfew.
Late Monday night, authorities said they recovered her body in a recycling bin just a few blocks from her home.
A medical examiner determined she died as a result of blunt force trauma consistent with strangulation. Preliminary autopsy results show no signs of sexual assault to her body.
Dalton said the girl was lured to the brothers’ home for the purpose of obtaining parts to her BMX bicycle.
The juveniles’ mother contacted law enforcement concerning postings from one son’s Facebook accounts, which led to the authorization of the search warrant, Dalton said.
Earlier today, authorities executed a search warrant at the boys’ home that revealed personal items belonging to Autumn, including her BMX bicycle, Dalton said.
“The detectives, based upon information developed, were able to through combined efforts of law enforcement and information from the mother, lead officers to the location where Autumn’s body was found,” Dalton said.
The two boys, whose names were not released by the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office, turned themselves in, accompanied by their attorneys, on Tuesday.
“Right now, it’s an ongoing investigation as to what happened,” Dalton said. “We are considering waiving them to adult court, but we will weigh all the information beforehand.”
“Today, we mourn the loss of a young girl Autumn Pasquale whose life was cut tragically short before it began,” Dalton said. “Thoughts and prayers go out to her parents and family. It was my hope that the arrest today will provide a measure of closure that the individuals responsible for their daughter’s death will be held accountable.”