Reporting Jim Melwert
By Jim Melwert
CLAYTON, N.J. (CBS) –After a 12-year-old Gloucester County, NJ girl went missing in mid-October (see news story), the story took a tragic turn to an ending few could comprehend.
Hundreds of volunteers came out to help search for 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale. Her uncle, Paul Spadafora, begged for any information on her whereabouts.
“She’s a beautiful young girl, her birthday’s in a few days,” he said at the time, “and, man, if she comes home we’re going to have an awesome birthday party for her, she’s going to be thirteen.”
But after days of searching, Autumn’s body was found stuffed in a recycling bin a few blocks from her home.
“I walked about eight miles yesterday handing out pamphlets,” said one shocked neighbor. “Today, I find her a hundred yards from my front door. It’s crazy. We’ve been doing everything we can possibly do to bring this child home safely. And… it’s nuts.”
Thousands showed up for Autumn’s funeral, and Gloucester County renamed a stretch of its bike trail after her.
Two brothers, ages 17 and 15, were arrested and charged with her murder (see news story). They allegedly strangled her because they wanted her bicycle.