Autumn Pasquale, the 12-year-old New Jersey girl who disappeared on Saturday and was found dead Monday, was not the subject of an AMBER Alert throughout her disappearance, and the family of the victim are concerned that the effort to find their daughter could have been more robust.
Autumn Pasquale’s presumed abduction ended with the discovery of her body in a recycling bin and the arrest of 15-year-old Justin Robinson and 17-year-old Dante Robinson in what was believed to be an opportunistic killing that occurred in an attempt to steal the girl’s BMX bike.
But Autumn Pasquale’s family feels that despite the resolution, law enforcement officials mishandled the search for the 12-year-old.
Paul Spadafora, Pasquale’s great-uncle, said that Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean Dalton’s office “botched” the search for Autumn. He explains that the Pasquale family seeks an official investigation into the search for the girl and its handling:
“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.”
Spadafora indicated that flyers distributed regarding Autumn’s disappearance did not include a physical description of the girl.
The family’s comments to media come as reports indicate that Pasquale interacted with the two boys accused in her killing on social media site Facebook, where users have reportedly grabbed screenshots of conversations that occurred between Pasquale and the younger Robinson.
Dalton’s office addressed the criticism in a statement, saying:
“From the time Autumn Pasquale was reported missing by her family at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, the law enforcement response was continuous … 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.”
A funeral for Autumn Pasquale is set for Saturday, two days before her 13th birthday.