Local/State

Parents of Autumn Pasquale speak, funeral arrangements announced

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Funeral arrangements have been announced for 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale, who was found murdered in Clayton, New Jersey.

The funeral will be held Saturday

A public viewing is scheduled for 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Our Lady of Lourdes in Glassboro, New Jersey.

A public mass follows at 2:00 p.m at Interment Cedar Green Cemetery in Clayton.

The mother of the 12-year-old girl who was strangled and dumped in a recycling bin said Wednesday that the two teenage brothers accused of killing her had treated her daughter "like a piece of trash."

Authorities found Autumn Pasquale's body Monday night while acting on a tip from the boys' mother, who was alarmed by something she read on one of their Facebook pages, authorities said.

The arrests came Tuesday after police searched the boys' home and found the bike the girl had been riding and other possessions she had with her when she disappeared over the weekend.

In their first interview since Autumn's body was found in a bin next to the boys' home, her parents, Jennifer Cornwell and Anthony Pasquale, talked about how strong their daughter was and the horrible ending to her life.

"She was a tough girl, a tough cookie," Cornwell said, saying she did not deserve to be treated "like a piece of trash."

Pasquale said he knew the family of the boys arrested in the death.

"Everybody knows everybody," in the town of 8,000, he said, "whether they're friends or acquaintances."

The parents said they had been overwhelmed by the support from the community and the donations they have received, and knew their daughter would want them to stay strong. PHOTOS: WEBSITE and iPAD | WIRELESS

The father of the two teenage brothers accused of killing Autumn Pasquale spoke out to the little girl's family Wednesday morning.

Alonzo Robinson says he is stunned about the allegations that his sons could have had something to do with Autumn's death.

"A 12-year-old girl, you know what I mean? I didn't even sleep last night," Alonzo said.

With his sons Justin and Dante Robinson charged with first degree murder, Alonzo Robinson is struggling to make sense of their alleged roles in the death of Autumn Pasquale.

Alonzo says he hasn't seen his sons in a year, explaining it's been difficult to communicate with them since the divorce from their mother seven years ago.

"It's hard for me to swallow it. They're my two little sons," explained Alonzo. "I would like to meet her family. I wouldn't mind going to see them. Not right now but maybe in the future."

Alonzo's sons attend Clayton and Bankridge High Schools and live with their mother next door to the vacant house where Autumn's body was found late Monday night in a backyard recycling bin. Authorities say the brothers lured her there on the premise of trading bike parts and allegedly killed her in the basement.

The two brothers will appear in court for a detention hearing on Friday.

Meanwhile, a memorial is growing near the crime scene, just several blocks from Clayton's middle and high schools, which are located on the same campus. Grief counseling is available for students in both, trying to cope with the loss of a classmate and the accusations against another.

Devin Harold, a high school junior, tells Action News, "I grew up with the kids that did it. And I was just like, wow. Why would they do that?"

Authorities say an extensive search for Autumn was launched as soon as she was reported missing on Saturday night. But Autumn's family is now saying that they plan on reaching out to the state attorney general's office because they are not sure if the initial response was adequate, and they want someone investigating what exactly happened.

Late Wednesday, Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean Dalton released this statement, "From the time Autumn Pasquale was reported missing by her family at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, the law enforcement response was continuous and obvious throughout Clayton. The Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office's investigative units poured their hearts and souls into this investigation and worked around the clock to find Autumn. I am proud of what they did under such difficult circumstances. This is a time to start the healing process and let the justice system move forward with this case."

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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missing children, gloucester county, new jersey, local/state
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