By Bart Brooks / Website Staff on March 25, 2013 at 9:27 AM, updated July 16, 2013 at 10:06 AM
On Saturday, October 20, 2012, 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale was reported missing. After a brief, intense search, police found her body in a recycling container early Tuesday morning. Her death sent shockwaves through Clayton, the small town where she was from. Two teenage brothers were charged with her murder.
This is her story. Below you will find the South Jersey Times’ complete coverage, with supplemental stories from The Star-Ledger, of Autumn Pasquale’s disappearance, the discovery of her body, the resulting fallout, and the trial. You can also see all stories here.
Current status: The two young brothers accused of killing Autumn Pasquale are awaiting trial.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
• Finding the body
• Murder and motive
• Reaction by family, community
• Funeral, memorials, and more
• Murder trial
• Pasquale family vs. the county; family infighting
• Multimedia: Photo galleries, videos
Initially, authorities asked for help for anyone who had any information on the disappearance of missing Clayton girl Autumn Pasquale. She went missing on Saturday, October 20, 2012. She was last seen around 12:30 p.m., according to police, and relatives reported her missing at 9:30 p.m. that night.
• Missing: Autumn Pasquale, 12, of Clayton; police seek help in search
• Search for 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale of Clayton continues
• Autumn Pasquale still missing, vigil held in Clayton
FINDING THE BODY:
After an exhaustive two day search, authorities announced that they had found the body of Autumn Pasquale in a recycling container in Clayton. Just hours earlier, family and friends had gathered for a vigil to pray for her safe return. She was just one week away from her 13th birthday.
• Police: Body of Autumn Pasquale found in recycling container in Clayton
• Police on scene where Autumn Pasquale’s body was found in Clayton, bike found inside house
MURDER AND MOTIVE:
Two teenage boys, Donte and Justin Robinson, were charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder, disposing of a body, tampering with evidence and theft. An autopsy revealed that Pasquale likely died of blunt force trauma, consistent with strangulation, and that there was no evidence of sexual assault. Authorities said that they believed the teenage boys wanted Pasquale’s bicycle and its parts.
It was also revealed that a Facebook post by one of the suspects invited Pasquale to his home when she expressed interest in a bike. Residents also said that one of the suspects attended a vigil where people prayed for her safe return, and that he “liked” her memorial page.
Arrest story links:
• Father says he was questioned about sons’ possible involvement in Autumn Pasquale’s death
• Autumn Pasquale’s death: Police charge 2 teenage brothers with murder
Motive story links:
• Suspects in Autumn Pasquale’s shocking murder wanted girl’s bike, police say
• Facebook conversation between Autumn Pasquale, suspect came 4 days before killing
• Residents say accused killer of Autumn Pasquale attended vigil, ‘liked’ memorial Facebook page
Mourners sing at prayer vigil for Autumn Pasquale, Oct. 23, 2012 Friends and family gather to sing Amazing Grace at a prayer vigil for Autumn Pasquale in Clayton.
REACTION BY FAMILY, COMMUNITY:
The news of the death sent shockwaves through the town. The family mourned the loss of the young girl; her uncle said that “out of evil will come goodness.” They were left with despair and frustration, and questions: how would they be able to rebuild their lives? Why wasn’t there an AMBER alert? Months after Pasquale’s death, her father was still searching for answers.
• Death of missing N.J. girl shatters Clayton’s small-town charm
• Autumn Pasquale’s murder: ‘Out of evil will come goodness’
• Autumn Pasquale’s prayer service draws huge crowd of mourners, classmates
• Clayton’s children, parents show signs of healing in wake of Autumn Pasquale murder
• Mother of teens accused of killing Autumn Pasquale thanks supporters, blasts critics
• Autumn Pasquale murder: Slain Clayton girl’s father ‘still in disbelief’
FUNERALS, MEMORIALS, AND MORE:
Autumn Pasquale was laid to rest on Saturday, October 27, one week after she was reported missing. Thousands turned out to mourn the death of the 12-year-old girl.
After her death, benefits and memorials took place to commemorate her life. A bike trail, for example, was named after her.
Viewing and funeral:
• Autumn Pasquale’s life celebrated by thousands at funeral, burial services
Benefits and memorial links:
• Autumn Pasquale Memorial Fund to be aided by motorcycle, bicycle events
• Local Clayton residents organize ‘Run for Autumn’ to benefit Pasquale family
• Gloucester County bike trail to memorialize slain Autumn Pasquale
• County bike trail named for Autumn Pasquale; Clayton deems Oct. 29 ‘Autumn Pasquale Day’
Gloucester County prosecutor says Facebook posts led to arrests of teens charged with killing Autumn Pasquale Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean Dalton said posts on Facebook prompted the mother of two teenagers charged in the murder of 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale to contact police about her disappearance. Dalton says Clayton is a strong community and residents should put their anger aside and let justice take its course.
Before the trial, the teenage suspects, Donte Robinson, 17, and his brother Justin Robinson, 15, were kept in juvenile detention, but the prosecutor sought to try them as adults.
The issue whether the court should be opened to the public was raised, but the judge denied media access. The judge also ruled against hair sampling to be used during the trial as evidence.
The Gloucester County prosecutor handed off the murder case to Camden County to prevent a potential conflict of interest mistrial from occurring, since the family intended to file suit against the county.
• Teen suspects in Autumn Pasquale’s murder kept in juvenile detention
• Autumn Pasquale murder: Judge prohibits hair sampling for brothers accused of murder
• Autumn Pasquale murder: Detention hearing held for brothers charged in murder
• Autumn Pasquale murder case: Attorneys argue juvenile court proceeding should be open
• Autumn Pasquale: Judge denies media access to juvenile court in murder case
Transferring the case:
• Autumn Pasquale’s murder: Gloucester County prosecutor hands off murder case to Camden County
Autumn Pasquale’s parents call for investigation into response Anthony Pasquale and Jennifer Cornwell, parents of Autumn Pasquale, call for an investigation into the response when Autumn was reported missing. (Video by John O’Boyle)
PASQUALE FAMILY VS. THE COUNTY; FAMILY INFIGHTING:
Grief turned to anger as Autumn Pasquale’s family turned their ire on Gloucester County officials for what they perceived to be a sluggish response to her disappearance. They particularly had issue with Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean Dalton, who oversaw the rescue and recovery effort.
Additionally, there was infighting within the family over the memorial fund, when their parents engaged in a litigation battle. The mother sued the father, saying she was cut out of the memorial fund established in her daughter’s name. It was ultimately settled out of court.
Family versus Gloucester County
• Autumn Pasquale family calls for Attorney General’s investigation
• Autumn Pasquale’s family rallies to block Gloucester County prosecutor reappointment, tweak missing minor laws
Family vs. family:
• Autumn Pasquale’s murder: Father sued by mother over slain girl’s memorial fund – Update
• Autumn Pasquale memorial fund dispute ends with mother vs. father law suit settlement
MULTIMEDIA: PHOTO GALLERIES, VIDEOS:
Below you will find all of the related multimedia to the Autumn Pasquale case.
• Search for 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale of Clayton, Oct. 22, 2012
• Candlelight vigil held for missing 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale, Oct. 22, 2012
• Death of 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale investigated, Oct. 23, 2012
• Memorials for Autumn Pasquale, Oct. 24, 2012
• Autumn Pasquale murder brings more than 1000 out to prayer gathering
• The viewing and funeral for 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale, Oct. 27, 2012
• Detention hearing for two juveniles charged in murder of Autumn Pasquale, Oct. 26, 2012
• Police search a house after Autumn Pasquale’s body found
• Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean Dalton speaks about the death of 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale
• Gloucester County prosecutor announces arrests in death of Autumn Pasquale
• Gloucester County prosecutor says Facebook posts led to arrests of teens charged with killing Autumn Pasquale
• Mourners sing at prayer vigil for Autumn Pasquale, Oct. 23, 2012
• Prayer gathering for Autumn Pasquale, Oct. 23, 2012
• Autumn Pasquale’s parents call for investigation into response
• Crystal Seitz talks about Justin Robinson
• Gloucester County Assistant Prosecutor speaks at Robinson boys detention hearing