2 Teens Charged in Death of NJ Girl
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
A New Jersey prosecutor says two teenage brothers have been charged with murdering a 12-year-old girl whose body was found in a recycling bin.
Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean Dalton said at a news conference that the boys' mother played a role in cracking the case. She came forward with information about a posting on a son's Facebook account, leading police to the boys, who are 15 and 17, Dalton said.
He said the girl was lured to the boys' house, where her belongings were found, including her bicycle and backpack. The girl died in a manner consistent with strangulation, Dalton said. There were no signs of sexual assault.
The names of the boys, who are juveniles, were not released, but Dalton said his office was considering trying to have the case transferred to adult court.
Both brothers were charged with counts including first-degree murder, body disposal and tampering with evidence. One of them, the 15-year-old, was charged with luring.
Three teenage brothers live at the home, said, Na'eem Williams and Jodie Robinson, both 16. One of the teens in the home traded BMX bike parts, according to a young man, Corey Hewes, 19, who said he was among those who traded with him.
The house was a place where teens frequently hung out and had parties, some neighbors said.
Autumn's body was found around 10 p.m. Monday in the bin just blocks from her house and from Borough Hall, where thousands of people gathered earlier in the evening for a tearful candlelight vigil to pray for her safe return.
"The search for Autumn is over," Dalton said Tuesday. He called Clayton a safe community but said parents should continue to keep close watch on their children.
The girl's great-uncle, Paul Spadofora, thanked the community for its help in the search. The victim's parents did not attend.
"There's evil everywhere, even in the small town of Clayton," Spadofora said.
Autumn was last seen around 12:30 p.m. Saturday pedaling her bike away from the home where she lives with her father, her two siblings, her father's girlfriend and the girlfriend's children, authorities said.
Relatives said they believed she was heading to see a friend, and they became worried only after she did not return by her 8 p.m. curfew.
Sunday morning, her disappearance became not only a crisis but a town-wide cause in Clayton, a town 25 miles south of Philadelphia. Volunteers by the hundred joined the search, scouring malls, nearby towns and passing out fliers.