The horrifying story of Autumn Pasquale, the missing New Jersey girl whose body was found in a recycling bin this week, has gotten more terrifying. Two teenage boys have been arrested and charged with killing the 12-year-old, allegedly over her bike. And now I'm going to be the first to say I feel sorry for the mother of the 15- and 17-year-old brothers charged with this crime.
Yes, I feel sorry for Autumn's parents. My heart breaks in two for them. But that doesn't mean I can't have sympathy for the mom who turned her own sons in to the cops.
Police in Clayton, New Jersey, have credited the unnamed mother of the two minors for coming forward based on a comment she saw on one of the boys' Facebook pages. They won't elaborate, although some media have poked around the social site trying to determine what the 15- and 17-year-old suspects may have said. One theory centers around the fact that one of the boys allegedly "liked" a page devoted to the search for Autumn Pasquale.
What she found is neither here nor there. What kind of mother turns her children in to the police is the bigger issue here.
I think it's a mother who loves her children so much that she knows this is best for them.
We all worry that our kids are going to make mistakes in life. Of course, we're thinking mistakes along the "hit his best friend with a toy" line, not "murdered a 12-year-old girl for her bike and shoved her in a garbage can." But still, we all worry. We all think about what we should do.
Do we let them sink so they will learn to swim? Or do we step in and fix it all, prevent them from suffering?
It takes strength to choose the former, to recognize that our kids need to learn from their mistakes in order to become better people.
What this mother has done in turning her sons into the police is perhaps the greatest act of love she could have committed on their behalf. She thought they were involved in something unspeakably wrong, and instead of hiding it, she's forcing them out in the open, where they may have to answer for their alleged crimes. If it turns out these boys did this to Autumn, they will be incarcerated, hopefully rehabilitated. They may not come out of prison better, but there's certainly a greater chance of that than if they were allowed to get away with such a horrific crime.
What would you say to this mom today if you could?
Image via National Center for Missing & Exploited Children