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Prosecutor: Teen Brothers Strangled Autumn Pasquale

The brothers, ages 15 and 17, are charged with first-degree murder.

Two teenage brothers lured 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale into their house, strangled her and then dumped her body in a recycling bin, authorities said Tuesday afternoon. 

The Clayton, Gloucester County, girl had been missing since about 12:30 p.m. Saturday, when she left home on her white BMX Odyssey bicycle. After a relentless two-day search, her body was found in the bin outside a Clayton home late Monday night. 

Authorities on Tuesday arrested the brothers—ages 15 and 17—who live about five blocks from Pasquale's home. During a news conference in Clayton on Tuesday afternoon, Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean Dalton declined to release their identities because of their ages. 

They each are charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, disposing of a body, tampering with evidence and theft. Additionally, the 15-year-old was charged with luring. 

The teens lured the girl into their home by telling her they had parts for her bicycle, according to the prosecutor. 

An autopsy performed Tuesday morning showed Pasquale died of blunt force trauma consistent with strangulation, according to Dalton. He said there was no indication Pasquale was sexually assaulted. 

The teen's mother contacted authorities after seeing a Facebook post from one of her sons regarding Pasquale, Dalton said. He declined to elaborate. 

Authorities executed a search warrant Tuesday at the teenagers' home. 

"The search recovered personal belongings of Autumn's in the juveniles' residence," including her bicycle, Dalton said. 

Dalton said his office may seek to try the teens as adults. A detention hearing for the juveniles is expected to take place Wednesday in Family Court in Woodbury. 

The case attracted media from as far away as New York to the small borough. In addition to dozens of members of the media, several Clayton residents also attended Tuesday's press conference. Some of them wiped away tears as Dalton provided the grisly details of Pasquale's death. 

Dalton credited local residents for banding together to help in the search for Pasquale. 

"Today we mourn the loss of a young girl whose life was tragically cut short before it even began," Dalton said. "I know a lot of you are angry, and you have a right to be angry. At this point, we need to put anger aside. We have to let justice take its course."

WDNeedsHelp October 26, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Nancy, violence has been around for decades on TV. To blame the actions of murderous acts on anyone or anything but the perp is absolutely insane. It is that type of thought that has brought us here, a world where no one is responsible for their actions and no one should pay the full price for those actions. There is only one answer, wipe from the face of the Earth these types of individuals so they can NEVER harm another person. I can only hope their time in jail is spent in the showers being gang-raped or quickly dispatched by a jail house shiv.
Nancy VanTwistern October 26, 2012 at 07:29 PM
WD and just whom is supposed to 'decide' what people are the 'scum of the earth'.. those people who don't care enough and don't 'teach and spend time with' their children are partly to blame...some are so worn out with trying to make a living...THERE ARE MANY REASONS......BUT...your post was too extreme...are you going to be one of those who decides?? Would surely hope not, with your attitude.
Joe R October 28, 2012 at 03:03 AM
Even if the death penalty were reinstated, these two monsters are too young to be executed; there's a nationwide ban on executing those under 18. A mother turned in her 17 year old son who is the murderer of 10 year old Jessica Ridgeway of Colorado. Colorado does have the death penalty but the 17 year old is too young to be executed. Personally, I am against the death penalty, life in prison without the chance of parole is a fitting punishment. Will these murderous teens even get that punishment? Doubtful. I just feel so sorry for the parents and relatives of these murdered children, it's a horror beyond comprehesnion. Deep condolences to all of the victims.
John Cammarata October 28, 2012 at 10:00 PM
Where's Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson? Oh, that's right, "black youths killing innocent white girl" doesn't move those racists..... Wake up all of you chicken-s liberals out there.....
Nancy VanTwistern October 29, 2012 at 02:16 AM
Thanks for the 'heads up' John..........yes, where are they....think Jessie is ill and in seclusion...as for Al.........

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