Bike Recovered Near Home Where Girl’s Body Found
Police have recovered a bicycle from an East Clayton Avenue home in Clayton near where Autumn Pasquale's body was discovered in a recycling bin Monday night.
Witnesses say a bicycle matching the description of Autumn Pasquale's white BMX bike was removed from a home by authorities on East Clayton Avenue near the home where her body was found in a recycling bin. Neighbors tell The Associated Press there is a boy in the neighborhood known to steal bikes.
Townsquare Media NJ's Dino Flammia says neighbors have not seen the owners of the home since Monday afternoon.
Meanwhile, WPVI reports that Autumn was wearing the same clothes she was described when she was last seen as wearing on Saturday.
Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean Dalton has not yet labeled the death a homicide and says there are no arrests in the case yet. He says the criminal investigation is just beginning. Dalton says if someone is responsible for her death, they'll be held accountable.
The Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office has released a picture of the Odyssey BMX bicycle Autumn Pasquale was riding on Saturday.
Autumn's uncle, Paul Spadafora, confirmed that the 12-year-old's body was found in a home's recycling container. He thanked the community for helping to search for his niece.
Autumn's classmates at the Clayton Middle School remembered her with a moment of silence at the beginning of the school day reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. Grief counselors were also available for students & staff.
In a press release issued early Tuesday morning, investigators with the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office said they found the 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.
Members of Autumn Pasquale's family were notified of the discovery.
"This is a very sad day for the Pasquale family," said Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean F. Dalton. "Our hearts go out to the family and to all the residents of Clayton who stood together in support of this young girl."
An autopsy will be conducted Tuesday morning by the Gloucester County Medical Examiner's Office.
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.
A TEXTED CLUE?
A friend, 11-year-old DeAnna Edwards-McMillen, said Autumn was at her house Friday night and they exchanged text messages on Saturday. She told Townsquare Media's Stacy Proebstle she received the last one at 1:22 p.m. and didn't believe it was intended for her. She said it read, "don't be like that."
During a press conference on Monday Dalton reported a text message being sent at 2:20PM on Saturday but did not disclose its contents.
A candlelight vigil outside the Clayton Municipal Building drew hundreds of people Monday night for Autumn. Her mother, Jennifer Cornwell, and father, Anthony Pasquale,
cried throughout the vigil.
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.
Stacy Proebstle, Dave Polaski and The Associated Press contributed to this story.