Two brothers have been charged with murder in the death of 12 year old Autumn Pasquale.
According to Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean Dalton, the brothers, ages 15 and 17, face a number of charges including first-degree murder, theft, conspiracy and tampering with evidence. At this point, the names of the two teen suspects are not being released.
At an afternoon press conference, Dalton said the brothers lured the young girl to their Clayton, N.J., home. Authorities allegedly found Autumn’s BMX bike and backpack in the brothers’ home. According to The Associated Press, one of the brothers traded in BMX bike parts.
Dalton said the boys’ mother played an important role in the case. She came forward with information she had seen on her son’s Facebook account, which ultimately led police to the boys, he said.
Police said the brothers turned themselves in to authorities on Tuesday.
Autumn disappeared on Saturday while riding her bike. Her body was found Monday in a recycling bin near her home.
“There’s evil everywhere, even in the small town of Clayton,” the girl’s great-uncle, Paul Spadofora, told reporters after the discovery.
An autopsy performed earlier Tuesday revealed Autumn died from blunt force trauma and strangulation. There were no signs of sexual assault, police said.
Police have not yet commented on a possible motive.
According to Dalton, Autumn would have turned 13 next week.
“This is a very sad day for the Pasquale family,” Dalton said. “Our hearts go out to the family and to all the residents of Clayton who stood together in support of this young girl.”
A 12-year-old girl disappeared on Saturday while riding her bike, and several agencies have been working night and day to find her.
Autumn Pasquale, of Clayton, N.J., was last seen leaving her home on a white Odyssey BMX bike at around 12:30 p.m., the South Jersey Times reports. Her parents, upon realizing she didn’t make it to a friend’s house, reported her missing at about 9:30 p.m.
She’s described by posters on a Facebook page set up to help find her as blonde, 5-foot-2 and weighing 120 pounds. She was last seen wearing navy blue shorts underneath navy blue sweatpants, a yellow T-shirt with “Clayton Soccer” on front, and bright blue high-top sneakers.
If you have any information on her whereabouts, please call the Clayton Police Department at 856-881-2300.