Autumn Pasquale Murder: Parents of slain N.J. girl in court battle over memorial fund

Police say 15-year-old Autumn Pasquale disappeared on Oct. 20 riding her BMX bike in her neighborhood in Clayton, N.J. Autumn was found dead two days later in a recycling bin behind a nearby house. Two brothers, aged 15 and 17 years old, were arrested in her slaying. Pasquale was allegedly lured into a house by the younger brother who told her he wanted to trade bike parts.
Personal photo
Autumn Pasquale
Personal Photo

(CBS/AP) CLAYTON, N.J. - Three months after the killing of 12-year-old New Jersey girl Autumn Pasquale, her divorced parents are in a court battle over control of a memorial fund and headstone for the girl's grave.

Pictures: Body of missing NJ girl found

Autumn went missing on Oct. 20, 2012, after going for a bike ride in her neighborhood. Forty-eight hours later, police found the teen's body stuffed in a recycling bin, several blocks from her home in Clayton, N.J., 25 miles south of Philadelphia.

Donations rolled in for a reward for an arrest in the case. After two teenage brothers were charged with murder, money came in for her funeral and other purposes. In all, donations totaled at least $100,000.

In the suit filed Tuesday, the girl's mother, Jennifer Cornwell, says her ex-husband, Anthony Pasquale, took Cornwell's name off the memorial fund bank account that they had agreed to control together to pay for their daughter's funeral, legal expenses and help with the college education for their two surviving children. She also says her ex-husband has refused to consult her on what the girl's headstone should say.

Cornwell is asking a judge to split the memorial fund so that each parent can have partial control and to bar Pasquale from complete the headstone design without Cornwell's input.

Court filings lay out acrimony between the girls' parents: Cornwell moved out in 2002 when her children were 4, 3, and 1 years old. Though the parents legally had joint custody, they spent most of their time living with their father. The couple were divorced in 2005, seven years after they married.

Cornwell says her ex-husband did not inform her that their middle daughter was missing until two hours after police were called on Oct. 20.

Pasquale says his ex-wife picked up items left at a funeral home by mourners without his permission. She contends he said it would be OK. He also says she was wrong to withhold money from a fundraiser from the fund. She says the money -- a $15,500 check plus unspecified cash -- is in a safe-deposit box where she placed it after learning she no longer had control of the bank account.

Complete coverage of Autumn Pasquale on Crimesider