Hundreds say goodbye to slain NJ girl

GLASSBORO, N.J. (AP) - October 27, 2012

Hundreds gathered Saturday in Glassboro for a wake and funeral for 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale.

Autumn Pasquale's abduction and murder pulled the town of Clayton together. So it was fitting that the Pasquale family invited the entire community to say goodbye to their 12-year-old daughter during a public viewing and funeral.

"I have to be here for closure," said Dawn Nelke.

Dawn Nelke is a Clayton resident and a stranger to the family before the tragic event.

Saturday morning, Nelke and hundreds of others waited in a line that wrapped around Our lady of Lourdes Church in Glassboro while the family held a private viewing before opening it to the public.

Mourners hugged and cried during the service at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Glassboro. Monsignor Michael Mannion urged them to do good works in her memory. He asked them not only to wonder why Autumn died, but also ask why she lived.

"It is nice to see the community pull together and support one another," said Debbie Locicero.

"We grew up in the area and it hit home, it hits close to home," said David Webb.

"As a mom, it's very important to come out and support another mom," said Nina Kelleyrumpf. "It's a terrible tragedy that no mother should ever have to deal with."

Last Saturday, Autumn disappeared. After a two-day search, her body was discovered Monday night inside a recycling bin on the same street where her alleged killers lived.

Two brothers, ages 15 and 17, have been arrested in her death. Police say the younger teen lured Pasquale to his home under the guise of getting parts for her bicycle.

"She was a great student," said Nancy Lee.

Autumn's 5th grade teacher Nancy Lee focused on the bright 7th grader that everyone loved Saturday and not the crime or the suspects that took her life.

"She was fun, funny always had a smile," she said.

Autumn's final resting place is at Cedar Green Cemetery in Clayton, not far from her home.

Her alleged killers remain in juvenile custody and will appear in court again on November 16th.

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