The End of Autumn

Autumn Pasquale

Another young life lost: Autumn Pasquale (courtesy of Pasquale Family)

Late Saturday afternoon, 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale hopped on her white BMX bicycle just outside her Clayton, New Jersey home and went to see a friend, or so her parents thought.

Monday evening, Autumn’s body was found stuffed into a recycling bin just blocks from her home. Her bicycle and some other personal effects were retrieved from the same Clayton Avenue house shortly thereafter.

As it turned out, Autumn was lured to the home of two teenage brothers, 17-year-old Dante Robinson and 15-year-old Justin Robinson, who strangled her to death and disposed of her body on the same block where they live. It was their mother who noticed a strange comment one of her son’s Facebook pages and contacted police.

The boys have now been charged with first-degree murder, theft, conspiracy to commit murder and disposal of the body. Justin received an additional charge for luring Autumn.

As you might imagine, the small town of Clayton has been shaken to its very core. And people simply cannot believe that something like this could happen in their peaceful town.

“There’s evil everywhere, even in the small town of Clayton,” Autumn’s uncle Paul Spadofora told reporters.

I hate to say it, but Mr. Spadofora is right.

It seems as if we hear the “how could it happen here” thing more and more in the media and popular press. That’s because the violence and death people normally associate with larger, urban areas aren’t limited to cities. Like a virus, they continue to spread throughout small-town America and threaten us all. And it’s about time we did something about it.

Unfortunately, I have no clue what that “something” is. I never professed to be an expert on safety and security. About the only idea I have is something we should all be doing anyway: protecting each other. Good people need to watch the backs of other good people. Otherwise the evil in the world will overtake us, and clearly the tide has already started to shift in that direction. Here’s hoping we can turn things around… and soon.

Rest in peace, Autumn.

Posted on October 24, 2012, in Perspectives and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Prayers of peace and comfort to her family. And people wonder why I am so paranoid about the things my children do… Breaks my heart thinking about what that poor baby went through.

  2. It’s a screwed up world out there, not too long ago the a town in Iowa had a group of 8th grade honor students breaking into local homes stealing items then trying to burn down the homes to help cover their tracks… I feel sorry for Autumns family I all know at some point we’ll have to bury our parents, but one should have to bury their child…

  3. This is such a terrible thing.It makes you wonder how those boys got that way.
    Rest in peace Autumn.

  4. While I use the internet as much as anyone else, there is too much being exposed to young minds… Even these “teenie” shows on TV now. They aren’t like “Father Knows Best” or “My Three Sons”. They show silly yet physical antics, mild hazing, revenge-type scenarios, etc. All for young minds to absorb.

  5. It’s just beyond tragic. That poor child. And yet, this movement of “free range” parenting appears to be growing. Not me. No way. I want to know where my little one is all the time.

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