The Autumn Pasquale Case: Deadly Facebook Meet Up
[Clayton, New Jersey]
12 year old Autumn Pasquale was overwhelmed with excitement after receiving a white BMX bike from her father, Anthony.
After getting the bike, she eagerly logged onto her Facebook account to show it off. Two things were for certain; she loved her bike and loved social media.
Autumn was deeply interested in perfecting the look of her bike. She would trade parts with other people on Facebook. For the most part, she stuck to speaking and trading with friends. However, her search for the perfect, blue handle bars caused her to stir up a conversation with someone she didn’t know as well. “I tried to monitor them as much as I could, making sure the kids weren’t talking to someone they weren’t supposed to, but it was difficult”, Anthony said. The owner of the handle bars suggested meeting up to trade to which Autumn agreed.
On October 20th, 2012, Autumn headed off on her bike to meet with the person while her father and brother attended a football game.
As Autumn’s father returned home, he noticed her absence and reported her as missing. Authorities initially assumed she was a runaway, but Anthony wouldn’t accept that as a conclusion. He conducted his own searches in skateparks, woods, and at friends and family’s houses. Her family also hired a private investigator by the name of Joe Nick to add to the search for Autumn.
On October 22nd, 2012, Joe received a tip about two brothers, Dante (17) and Justin (15) Robinson.
Justin knew of Autumn because they attended their schools on the same campus. Justin was a part of the high school while Autumn attended the middle school. The two would often pass each other while walking to classes. Joe spoke to other people who knew of the brothers and learned that they would often take people’s bikes. When Joe spoke to Dante, the older brother, the teen said that Justin was the one communicating with Autumn about the handle bars. According to Dante, his younger brother told Autumn to meet him a house #77, an abandoned factory behind their home.
Bike tracks leading from the factory to the Robinsons’ home caused Joe to believe that Autumn was near their house at one point.
Joe cleverly was able to gain access into the home after a friendly conversation with Dante about working out. When he was inside, he noticed more obvious bicycle tracks. His suspicion against the brothers grew even more after he attempted to enter a room, but was blocked by Dante being told he couldn’t go in there. Joe reported his findings to police which ultimately proved to be enough information for a search warrant.
While authorities were thoroughly scanning behind the residence for clues, they found Autumn’s upside down body stuffed in a recycling bin. She had been savagely beaten and strangled. Inside the room that Dante would not let Joe search was Autumn’s distinctive, white BMX bike. Many people believe that Autumn was murdered simply for her bike, but Justin denied that being the reason.
Justin Robinson accepted a plea deal for aggravated manslaughter. He was given a sentence of 17 years in prison.
His brother, Dante, pleaded guilty to fourth degree obstruction, but was released for time served. In May of 2017, Dante participated in a burglary where he was shot. He survived his wounds and was sentenced to 35 and a half years in prison.