The parents of 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale have finally broken their silence in light of their daughter's brutal death. The young girl was strangled and dumped in a recycling container by a set of teenage brothers in the neighborhood.
"She was a tough girl, a tough cookie," Autumn's mother, Jennifer Cornwell, said in an interview. She did not deserve to be treated "like a piece of trash," Cornwell added.
Pasquale's family has been reserved throughout her disappearance and discovery, but they have finally broken their silence. Autumn disappeared on Saturday, and her body was discovered on Monday evening, causing outrage and disbelief throughout the community.
"Everybody knows everybody, whether they're friends or acquaintances," Autumn's father Anthony Pasquale said. He added that he knew the family of his daughter's alleged killers.
Justin and Dante Robinson have been charged with first-degree murder, having lured Autumn into their home before allegedly strangling her then dumping her body. Prosecutors want to move the boys from their detention facility and try them as adults, rather than juveniles.
The boys' mother was the one to tip off police after noticing unusual comments on their Facebook pages. Police found Autumn's body in a recycling bin next to the boys' home, and after police searched the home and found Autumn's missing bicycle, arrests were made and charges filed.
The Clayton community is still in shock over the whole ordeal. The Robinson boys will appear in court tomorrow, one day before the funeral services for Autumn. Her funeral will be held on Saturday, with a public viewing scheduled before a public mass at the Interment Cedar Green Cemetery in Clayton, New Jersey.
Autumn's parents noted that they had been "overwhelmed" by the support and care the community had shown them during their struggle. According to ABC News, they knew Autumn "would want them to stay strong."