The 15-year-old boy accused of killing a 12-year-old neighbor apparently exchanged Facebook messages with her a few days before her death. According to a screenshot of a Facebook exchange, Justin Robinson had posted an image of a BMX bike, prompting Autumn Pasquale to note, "Is that ur bike?" He replied, "Yeupp," and the girl said, "Thts sexy!" Justin Robinson said, "lol thxx ... yes. cme 2 my house."
Autumn Pasquale was last seen on Saturday afternoon, riding on her white BMX bike in her hometown, Clayton, NJ. When she didn't return for her 8 p.m. curfew, her family contacted the police at 9:30 p.m. Hundreds of law enforcement officials and volunteers joined in the search for the girl, but on Monday night, her body was found in a recycling container a few blocks from her house. On Tuesday, the authorities found her bicycle, backpack and other belongings inside a nearby home and announced that two teen brothers, ages 15 and 17, were charged with her murder, apparently because they wanted her BMX bike for parts.
While the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office did not disclose the boys' names, they have been identified in the media as Justin and Donte Robinson, 17. Residents claim that Justin was laughing at a candlelight vigil for Autumn on Monday night and also liked the "Find Autumn Pasquale" Facebook page. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Justin left a message on Autumn's brother's Facebook page:
While the search for Autumn intensified on Sunday, Justin had a Facebook exchange with Autumn's brother, A.J.
In a message to A.J. from Justin, only one word - "autumn" - appeared.
"What bout her," A.J asks.
Someone else then interjects: "why post her name then nothing else?"
"Right," A.J. adds.
Justin's response was enigmatic: "it was an accident the cop waz here & my brother did it," he wrote, according to a screen grab of the exchange.
The boys' mother, Anita Saunders, alerted the police after becoming concerned by a Facebook posting from one of her sons. Officials haven't disclosed what the posting said, but Saunders gave the police keys to her house on Tuesday, allowing them to search the premises.
The suspects' aunt told NBC Philadelphia, "I just feel real bad for the 12-year-old girl. I cried for her. It’s just a shame that it happened. I just feel real sorry for the family.” The boys will appear in court tomorrow; it's unclear whether they will be tried as adults.
Pasquale's family has begun to speak out about the investigation. The girl's great-uncle, Paul Spadafora, said, "Right now there are so many things we think may have been wrong and done wrong that we would like to have the state attorney general come in and investigate... They botched the search. These are the professionals we trust and pay." Apparently her disappearance did not rise to the level that would have prompted an Amber Alert; her father, Anthony Pasquale said, "We would have liked a faster response."