Two teenage brothers have been charged in connection with the murder of 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale, who disappeared from her New Jersey home this weekend and was found in a recycling bin Monday night.
The boys, ages 15 and 17, were neighbors of Pasquale, who was last seen alive riding her bicycle on Saturday in her neighborhood in Clayton, N.J., police said today.
Police said that Pasquale's injuries were consistent with strangulation, and that there was no sign of sexual assault. They believe she was lured to the boys' home on Saturday.
Both boys turned themselves in to police in the company of their attorneys this afternoon, just hours after police found Pasquale's body in a recycling bin not far from her home, police said today.
Police said at a press conference this afternoon that information posted on one of the boy's Facebook pages led their mother to call police. He did not specify what kind of information was posted.
Authorities said they cannot legally release the names of the boys due to New Jersey law.
The brothers are charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder, disposing a body, and tampering with evidence, according to police.
"The search for Autumn is over," Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean Dalton said earlier today.
The body was found at about 10 p.m. Monday, according to a statement released by Bernie Weisenfeld, spokesman for the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office. Police have not given the exact location of the recycling container, but indicated that it was not far from Pasquale's home. She was reported missing Saturday night.
"This is a very sad day for the Pasquale family," Dalton said in a statement this morning. "Our hearts go out to the family and to all the residents of Clayton who stood together in support of this young girl."
An autopsy to confirm the body's identity will be conducted this morning by the Gloucester County Medical Examiner's Office.
Weisenfeld said the girl's family has been notified of the discovery, which came a few hours after a candlelight vigil was held for her.
Pasquale had been the subject of an extensive search in the past two days that involved about 200 law enforcement personnel and hundreds of volunteers.
Pasquale's father, Anthony, said he last saw her Saturday around 12:30 p.m., leaving their home on a white BMX bike. Her father reported her missing at 9:30 p.m., 90 minutes after her 8 p.m. curfew.
A friend, 11-year-old DeAnna Edwards-McMillen, said Pasquale was at her house Friday night and they exchanged text messages Saturday, ABC News station WABC-TV reported.
She said she received the last one at 1:22 p.m. and didn't believe it was intended for her. She said it read, "Don't be like that."
The last known communication was in a text message she sent around 2:30 p.m. Dalton would not say who received the message or what it contained. But he said there was nothing alarming or unusual about it.
Pasquale would have turned 13 next Monday.