Autumn Pasquale Murdered By Two Brothers, Says Prosecutor [VIDEO]
Two teenage brothers have been charged with first degree murder in the death of 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale.
Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean Dalton said the brothers, age 15 and 17, face a number of charges: murder, conspiracy to commit murder, disposing of a body, tampering with evidence and theft.
Autumn Pasquale was strangled to death and died from blunt force trauma. No evidence of sexual assault was found during the autopsy.
Dalton says the 15-year-old lured Autumn Pasquale to their home so they could get parts from her BMX bike. Neighbors had told reporters one of the boys liked to buy and sell parts from BMX bikes.
Because the boys are minors their names cannot be released under New Jersey law by law enforcement.
Dalton said it was unclear whether or not the boys would be charged as adults as the investigation is ongoing but it's "strongly being considered."
Authorities found Pasquale's BMX bike in the brother's home along with other personal items.
Dalton says the boys' mother alerted police to postings on their Facebook page which helped establish a case against the boys.
FOUND IN A RECYCLING BIN
In a press release issued early Tuesday morning, investigators with the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office said they found Autumn's body in a recycling bin in Clayton at around 10 p.m. Monday. The exact location of the body when found is not being immediately disclosed.
The body was discovered by a search team member in a bin that was set out by the curb for Tuesday morning pickup reports WTXF TV not far from both Autumn's home and the Clayton Police Department.
WPVI reports that Autumn was wearing the same clothes she was described when she was last seen as wearing on Saturday.
"This is a very sad day for the Pasquale family," said Dalton. "Our hearts go out to the family and to all the residents of Clayton who stood together in support of this young girl."
The GCPO Major Crimes Unit, along with the office's Crime Scene Unit, the Clayton Police Department, officers of the New Jersey State Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other municipal police in Gloucester County has transitioned from a search to a criminal investigation.
The girl was reported missing from her home about 9:30 p.m. Saturday.
200 volunteers spent Monday searching throughout Clayton and the immediate surrounding area for Autumn. A $10,000 reward had been posted for information leading to her safe return.
The Find Autumn Pasquale Facebook page was transformed from a place of hope and encouragement to finding Autumn alive to one of remembrance with calls for justice. "My prayers go out to her family and friends and hope they catch this sick person or persons and give the family justice R.I.P. Autumn," posted Ann Marie Ellils. "I am so sad to hear this it is heartbreaking I hope the person who did this pays," posted Christina Civinski.
Dino Flammia, Leanne Vuksanic, Stacy Proebstle, Dave Polaski and The Associated Press contributed to this story.