Park renamed in memory of Autumn Pasquale
CLAYTON, N.J. - October 20, 2013 (WPVI) -- One year ago, 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale was found murdered in her Clayton neighborhood. On Sunday, her family, friends and community gathered to honor her memory with a lasting tribute.
Bright blue skies and a warm sun welcomed Autumn's family and friends into a park on East Avenue in Clayton, New Jersey.
This is where the athletic 12-year-old spent much of her childhood.
"Autumn and I would spend countless hours in this park," said Mary Pasquale, grandmother.
Mary joined family and friends Sunday in renaming the park from Little Ease Park to the Autumn Pasquale Memorial Park.
"She was a joy in our life and we miss her presence and this is a sign of how many people she touched," said Mary.
The idea to rename the park came from a complete stranger - Debbie Savigliano of 'Bianca's Kids.'
"One of the thousands of wishes we granted, none were as important as getting this one," said Savigliano.
Savigliano heads the group that grants wishes to New Jersey families and reached out to Autumn's father as they neared the year anniversary of her murder.
Savigliano asked what she could do and Autumn's dad wanted to capture this.
"Today let's not remember the sadness, let's remember her life, her carefree spirit and the joy she brought to life," said Anthony Pasquale, father.
It was a year ago that this same community was searching for Autumn after she went missing.
Soon after she was found dead in a recycling bin outside of the home of teen brothers Dante and Justin Robinson. Autumn had ridden her BMX bike there to buy parts.
Both boys were arrested for the murder but Justin has since taken full responsibility and was sentenced to 17 years in prison. Dante was later freed.
Sunday's memorial was comforting for the entire town who never expected anything like this to ever happen in their tight-knit community.
"Her spirit is always around. Thank God for a beautiful day, she will always be shining down," said Ellen Stein.
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