Autumn Pasquale's mother says daughter was treated like "piece of trash"

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

Pictures: Body of missing NJ girl found

Authorities found 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 home of the boys, age 15 and 17, and found the bike Pasquale had been riding and other possessions she had with her when she disappeared over the weekend.

In their first interview since their daughter's body was found, 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.

Pasquale said he knew the family of the boys arrested in the death, saying that "everybody knows everybody," in the town of 8,000.

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.

Funeral services were set for 2 p.m. Saturday at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Glassboro, following a public viewing set to start at 8 a.m.

Because the brothers were charged as juveniles, authorities have not made their names public. They are expected in court for a detention hearing Friday. Gloucester county Prosecutor Sean Dalton said it is likely he will ask that the case be moved to adult court, where all the proceedings would be public.

The teens were charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, disposing of a body, tampering with evidence and theft. The younger boy also was charged with luring.

Dalton said the 15-year-old persuaded the bike-obsessed Autumn to come to his home so they could trade BMX bike parts, and that the brothers stole her prized bike, but he would not discuss a possible motive for the killing.

Complete coverage of Autumn Pasquale on Crimesider