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Please Be On The Lookout For 14 Year Old Autistic Avonte Oquendo Missing Since October 4th, 2013


 

By Jueseppi B.

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Anyone with information was asked to contact NYPD Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, visit the Crime Stoppers website or text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) and enter TIP577.

 

Cops are looking for a missing Rego Park teen who cannot verbally communicate.

Avonte Oquendo, 14, was last seen leaving the Center Boulevard School at 1-50 51st Avenue in Long Island City around 12:38 p.m. Friday, said police.

He was wearing a grey striped shirt, black jeans and black sneakers. Oquendo is 5’3″ tall and weighs 125 pounds.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). 

 

Police Searching For Avonte Oquendo Missing Autistic Queen Teenager in Island City!

 

 

 

Family Intensifies Search for Missing Autistic Boy

Avonte Oquendo was last seen leaving his school in Long Island City

 

Avonte Oquendo was last seen leaving Center Boulevard School in Long Island City at around 12:45 p.m. Friday. Surveillance video showed him running from the school, and his family has been pleading for help finding him.

 

“He cannot communicate at all,” said the boy’s brother, Daniel Oquendo Jr., who flew in from Orlando Tuesday to organize the latest search. “He can’t tell someone if he is hungry, if he is lost. He can’t say his name.”

 

The family of a missing 14-year-old mute autistic boy is intensifying their search for him after a false alarm Tuesday when police initially reported they’d found him.

 

Daniel Oquendo Jr. said the family is focusing their search underground, particularly in Queens where most of the tips have been originating.

 

“He does ride the trains from here to get to school. Always with someone, but that’s how he gets to and from school,” he said.

 

In addition to the subways, the family is searching empty warehouses and diners.

 

Police had said Tuesday that Oquendo had been found after someone called police and reported seeing him in East Harlem. About 20 minutes later, police said they had been mistaken, that the child was not him.

 

“There was someone who fit the description, and I believe he might have been autistic and non-verbal as well,” said Oquendo Jr. “I don’t know what the odds are that they found someone also like that, and looks like him.”

 

A statewide alert remains in effect for Oquendo. Police have also released an updated photo of the boy, below.

 

Avonte-Oquendo

 

“If you knew him, you’d know we’re out here, and we’ll be out here as long as we have to be, until he’s found,” said Oquendo Jr.

 

Anyone with information was asked to contact NYPD Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, visit the Crime Stoppers website or text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) and enter TIP577.

 

A $50,000 reward is now being offered for the safe return of a 14-year-old autistic boy from Queens who has been missing for a week.

 

Autism Speaks said the reward was increased Friday through a generous donor. Two other organizations had already pledged $10,000.

 

A 24-hour command center has been set near the Center Boulevard School in Long Island City where Avonte Oquendo was last seen. The teen was spotted on surveillance video leaving the school on Oct. 4.

 

“He’s probably scared, hungry, the temperature’s dropping,” his father Daniel Oquendo told CBS 2′s Amy Dardashtian. “This is the seventh day and we’re getting desperate.”

 

The family has been intensifying their search, tapping into social media and assigning volunteers to cover specific areas.

 

“We’ve pretty much covered all of Queens and Brooklyn,” said Avonte’s brother Daniel Oquendo, Jr. “We’ve had at least 100 to a 150 people come by to help.”

 

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said there are 100 NYPD officers are assigned to look for Avonte. He said they’re leaving no stone unturned.

 

‘We have interviewed virtually everyone on the sexual predator registry in that area,” Kelly told reporters including WCBS 880′s Rich Lamb.

 

Because of the 14-year old’s fascination with trains, Kelly says every bit of subway track and all stations, including those abandoned, are getting a second going over. He added the search may be expanded to NJ TRANSIT and the LIRR.

 

Police and volunteers have been passing out flyers and pictures of Avonte are plastered all over the city.

 

“I’m just hoping he’s OK,” the boy’s mother Vanessa Fontaine said Thursday. “He finds some shelter from the rain, he’s not sick, he’s not passed out from not eating. It’s been days and days and days.”

 

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Avonte cannot communicate verbally. Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said he was assigned to a group of six special needs kids who are supervised by one teacher and one paraprofessional.

 

The teen’s mother said she is upset that the surveillance video shows her son strolling off unabated.

 

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“I can’t watch it. I can’t see him run off like that and nobody’s running behind him to say, ‘hey kid come back here.’ There’s no one,” Fontaine said.

 

Police searching for missing teen last seen leaving LIC school

 

 

Published on Oct 5, 2013

Cops are looking for a missing Rego Park teen who cannot verbally communicate.

Avonte Oquendo, 14, was last seen leaving the Center Boulevard School at 1-50 51st Avenue in Long Island City around 12:38 p.m. Friday, said police.

He was wearing a grey striped shirt, black jeans and black sneakers. Oquendo is 5’3″ tall and weighs 125 pounds.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477).

Video courtesy of NYPD

 

The boy’s family filed a claim to sue the city and the school district for failing to properly supervise Avonte. The family’s attorney, David Perecman, said it took the school too long to notify the boy’s mother about his disappearance.

 

“The school had ordered a lockdown and was looking for the child in the school for an hour before they even let mom know,” he said.

 

A vigil is being held Friday evening next to the Center Boulevard School for Avonte in the hopes that he will be found safe.

 

“There are so many people who understand what a difficult time this is and how important it is to try to find Avonte as soon as possible for his safe return,” Lisa Goring, vice president of family services at Autism Speaks, told 1010 WINS.

 

Avonte is 5-foot-3 and weighs 125 pounds. He was last seen wearing a gray striped shirt, black jeans and black shoes.

 

“If you see him, please, please, call 911 or take him to a police station,” Fontaine said.

 

Anyone with information was asked to contact NYPD Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, visit the Crime Stoppers website or text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) and enter TIP577.

 

Cops are looking for a missing Rego Park teen who cannot verbally communicate.

Avonte Oquendo, 14, was last seen leaving the Center Boulevard School at 1-50 51st Avenue in Long Island City around 12:38 p.m. Friday, said police.

He was wearing a grey striped shirt, black jeans and black sneakers. Oquendo is 5’3″ tall and weighs 125 pounds.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). 

 

Finding a missing child with autism is challenging, but ‘nobody is giving up on Avonte’

 

The characteristics of autism, long thought of as a mystery, turn from enigma to life-threatening dangers when autistic children go missing, experts say.

 

Family members of Avonte Oquendo, a 14-year-old non-verbal autistic boy who vanished a week ago from his Queens, N.Y., school, are hoping his story will be one of the happy ones. But law enforcement face a multitude of challenges in Avonte’s situation that they wouldn’t normally have in a missing child case: For starters, Avonte can’t respond when his name is called.

 

“They sometimes will seek tight enclosed spaces and hide from searchers. These are not going to be a typical search for a child, as you might think, especially in a densely populated area like Queens,” said Bob Lowery, senior executive director for the missing children division at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

 

“This child is not going to be out looking for help,” Lowery said. “He might be reacting much differently. He might be eluding people.”

 

Avonte may also not have the ability to care for himself, said Lisa Goring, vice president of family services with Autism Speaks, an advocacy organization.

 

“A 14-year-old in general is still a very young person, so that obviously is a cause for concern, being on his own,” she said.

 

More worrisome, children with autism often engage in “high-risk behavior,” Lowery said, such as gravitating toward active roadways and bodies of water. For children with severe autism who “wander,” or bolt from safe environments, as Avonte did, about 91 percent of them who die are killed by drowning, he said.

 

This year alone, 14 kids with autism have wandered and died, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

 

But the stories don’t always end in tragedy. In October 2011, a non-verbal autistic 8-year-old in central Virginia, Robert Wood Jr., was found alive after missing for nearly a week. Robert had wandered away from a park while he was with his family and was found curled up in a creek bed.

 

“There were an estimated 6,000 people searching for him and there was never a credible sighting of him. The children are extremely clever about the way they elude. You can’t underestimate a child with autism,” Lowery said.

 

Searchers will be paying especially close attention to small spaces that Avonte could have climbed into.

 

“We don’t fully understand why they seek these tight enclosed spaces, whether it’s for security for comfort or their trying to escape maybe some noises or stimulus that may frighten them or irritate them,” Lowery said.

 

The week-long search for Avonte has been fraught with false hopes and tips that didn’t pan out. The boy was last seen running from the Riverview School in Queens onto the street on a school surveillance video; few other clues have poured in.

 

His family said Avonte likes trains, so police have homed in on subway stations, posting fliers throughout the system.

 

If a volunteer or a stranger does spot Avonte, Goring recommended following him, but not approaching him, to avoid scaring him.

 

“Call the tip line to let them know. Follow or keep an eye on Avonte but don’t necessarily approach or touch him. Keep him in your sight and communicate with law enforcement,” she said.

 

In runaway cases where autism isn’t a factor, law enforcement have other worries on their minds.

 

“The great majority of our missing children are going to be runaway children. They want to be away and they don’t want to be found in some cases, and naturally we are concerned about their welfare as well,” Lowery said. “They’ve got to sustain themselves while they’re out there so they’re often times vulnerable to exploitation or someone wants to take advantage of them. Lot of our children in sex trafficking start out as runaway children.”

 

Regardless, law enforcement always spend time with the family to find out what the child’s particular interests are — something they did in Avonte’s case, which led them to discover his affinity for trains.

 

While no statistics on how many children with autism wander are available, Lowery said it appears to be seasonal: More leave home when the weather is warmer.

 

“We’re not going to give up searching till we find Avonte,” Lowery said. “No one is giving up on Avonte. We’re going to continue looking until he’s found.”

 

The family feels the same way.

“We get leads throughout the day, and whenever we get them, we try to take them seriously,” Avonte’s brother, Danny Oquendo, told NBCNewYork.com. “We call police detectives, then volunteers who go to that area.”

 

Added their father, Daniel Oquendo, “We can’t even sleep. It’s hard to sleep knowing your child is out there and he could be cold and hungry and he can’t even communicate.”

 

Avonte is 5-foot-3 and weighs 125 pounds. He was last seen wearing a gray striped shirt, black jeans and black shoes.

 

“If you see him, please, please, call 911 or take him to a police station,” Fontaine said.

 

Anyone with information was asked to contact NYPD Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, visit the Crime Stoppers website or text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) and enter TIP577.

 

Cops are looking for a missing Rego Park teen who cannot verbally communicate.

Avonte Oquendo, 14, was last seen leaving the Center Boulevard School at 1-50 51st Avenue in Long Island City around 12:38 p.m. Friday, said police.

He was wearing a grey striped shirt, black jeans and black sneakers. Oquendo is 5’3″ tall and weighs 125 pounds.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). 

 

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8 Responses

  1. what a precocious little guy! I pray he will be home safely, soon. Good for you getting out this information!

  2. Many thanks for your like and follow on my blog. i hope you will stop by again soon and often, Namaste. . . . .

  3. Reblogged this on Social Awareness.

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