Police announced last night that they found a body matching the description of 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale but are waiting on autopsy results to confirm the girl's identity. The news brought heartache to the family and community in Clayton, New Jersey.
Over 40 police units and the FBI helped in the search for the girl who went missing on Saturday. She was last seen riding her white BMX bicycle, and authorities have not said whether they have located her bike or not. They did, however, confirm that they had spoken to over 75 people in connection with the case, including registered sexual offenders in the area.
After the community held a candlelight vigil for Autumn, her family was notified that a body had been found that matched her description. Police have so far refused to say where the body was found, or in what condition it was in; they are hopeful that the autopsy will provide answers to their questions.
"This is a very sad day for the Pasquale family," Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean F. Dalton said in an official statement. "Our hearts go out to the family and to all the residents of Clayton who stood together in support of this young girl."
Autumn's friend, DeAnna Edwards-McMillen, spoke to the press about her friend.
"She didn't hate people and people didn't hate her," she explained.
The family was unable to speak during the candlelight vigil but earlier in the day had told reporters how grateful they were that the community had come together to help look for Autumn.
"We love her and we want her to come home," her father Tony said.
Autumn would have turned 13 on Oct. 29, making her disappearance all the more tragic. She is survived by her father, mother, and two siblings.