#FindAvonte: Autistic 14-Year-Old Avonte Oquendo STILL Missing After 86 Days


 

By Jueseppi B.

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Please Don’t Stop Searching For Missing Autistic 14-Year-Old Avonte Oquendo

 

Avonte Oquendo. Don’t Forget Him. He’s Missing Over 4 Weeks. Help Find Him Please.

 

Avonte Oquendo Is Still Missing. 14 Years Old AND Autistic. No Communication Ability. Find Him.

 

 

Envelopes, fliers, posters and banners to help find Avonte Oquendo, an autistic 14-year-old who is unable to speak. Avonte ran out of his Long Island City school building two months ago and has not been seen since.

Envelopes, fliers, posters and banners to help find Avonte Oquendo, an autistic 14-year-old who is unable to speak. Avonte ran out of his Long Island City school building two months ago and has not been seen since.

 

A $95,000 reward is being offered for any information leading to Avonte’s safe return.

 

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). 

 

Avonte Oquendo headquarters opens

 

Weeks after autistic teen goes missing, mother and volunteers continue search.

 

The press has slowed and the city’s search parties have been scaled back, but the hunt for Avonte Oquendo continues.

 

Vanessa Fontaine, Avonte’s mother, has gone from her home in Rego Park to a tent in Long Island City to an official Help Find Avonte headquarters in the two months since her son bolted from his school and into the street.

 

“He’s still out there and we just needed a place where the volunteers can come in and do the fliers, pass them out and where I can get everything set up for when they come in,” she said.

 

The office is modest, no larger than a small apartment, with cream-colored walls covered with pictures of Avonte’s face. Though the pictures show the skinny 14-year-old smiling and happy, each poster acts as a haunting reminder of the mute autistic child who disappeared into the crisp autumn afternoon.

 

The pain parents must feel when their child is missing cannot be easily seen on Fontaine’s face. She maintains her composure and, like an athlete preparing for a big game, she keeps her eyes on the prize.

 

“I never struggle to stay positive,” she said, sipping from aStyrofoam cup filled with coffee from the Keurig machine she set up for the volunteers. “I can never think anything negative when it comes to my son. I just keep thinking that he’s still around, that someone has him and that he will be found.”

 

Whether Avonte is alive is not a question Fontaine entertains. She said she is absolutely confident that he is alive.

 

“My gut feeling is that someone took him,” she said. “On the street, there are no cameras around and he’s just walking alone.”

 

Fontaine is not alone in her search. Countless volunteers still show up every week to hang fliers and go on searches across the city, but it is her sons who appear to be her most loyal seekers.

 

Anthony and Andrew, two of her four sons, work with their mother throughout the day, hauling boxes, fixing the office up and folding fliers.

 

Her stepson, Jason, has been active on social media and Instagram, posting frequently about Avonte.

 

There is a sense of determination in the air as boxes and boxes of envelopes and fliers are laid on top of one another to be mailed out around the city.

 

With Christmas coming up, Fontaine says her one wish is to have Avonte home for the holidays.

 

Find Avonte Oquendo

 

“If I could have one gift, that would be it,” she said. “We’re going to keep Christmas normal and hopefully he’ll be home by then and we’ll do what we do as one big happy family.”

 

On Dec. 9, just after the headquarters opened, a Facebook page and PayPal account was started under the Official Help Find Avonte name.

 

“The Facebook page is to keep people in the loop and send out information in a quick way, and the PayPal is to help pay for some of the expenses we accumulate here,” Fontaine said.

 

Expenses including staples, paper clips, envelopes, paper and rent add up quickly and the family has relied on the help of friends and strangers alike to help them out.

 

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“They’re small things but they add up quickly,” Fontaine said.

 

She added that the account has done well and as of Wednesday, just over a week after it started, the Facebook page has accumulated more than 3,000 likes.

 

“It’s nice to know that so many people have identified with us and have helped us out,” Fontaine said.

 

If you would like to donate to the Help Find Avonte headquarters, you can do so by visiting the Facebook page at facebook.com/official-help-find-Avonte. The headquarters, at 21-81A 24 St. in Astoria, is also accepting donations of office supplies, coffee and hot chocolate for volunteers and other essentials.

 

“If I could say one thing to him I’d say that I love him, I will never stop looking for him and that he is coming home soon,” Fontaine said.

 

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Avonte Oquendo, a 14-year-old autistic boy, has been missing for more than a week. His family says that he has a fascination with the subway, which prompted a series of underground searches last week.

Avonte Oquendo, a 14-year-old autistic boy, has been missing for more than a week. His family says that he has a fascination with the subway, which prompted a series of underground searches last week.

 

School’s Response to Avonte Oquendo’s Disappearance Was Delayed, Disorganized, Attorney Says

 

By Pei-Sze Cheng

Details of an internal Department of Education report on autistic 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo’s disappearance from his school in October were released by the family lawyer. The report suggests several oversights and the boy’s family is now demanding answers. Pei-Sze Cheng reports.

 

School security and administrators’ immediate response to the disappearance of Avonte Oquendo from his Queens school on Oct. 4 appeared to be disorganized and confused, the boy’s family’s lawyer says, citing documents from an internal investigation by the Department of Education.

 

Avonte Oquendo’s family attorney David Perecman said he obtained an occurrence report from the DOE detailing the timeline of Oquendo’s disappearance from Center Boulevard School, compiled during the internal investigation.

 

According to the documents, 14-year-old Oquendo, who is non-verbal and autistic, had three adults watching his class on Oct. 4. The class was on its way to the computer lab when Oquendo slipped away.

 

Security cameras showed Avonte walking to the first floor at 12:37 p.m., the documents say. The boy walked by the main security desk twice before leaving the building through the Center Boulevard exit door, which had been left ajar.

 

At 12:41 p.m., a school safety agent went to the same exit and closed the door shut.

 

Oquendo’s teachers noticed he was missing at 12:40 p.m., and at 12:56 p.m., they notified the assistant principal, according to the documents. When the assistant principal asked the safety agent to sweep the outside perimeter of the school, the safety agent told her that she did not see Oquendo walk out back, and that she saw him “run up the stairs.”

 

The safety agent’s statement would be contradicted by security video that captured Oquendo leaving the school.

 

RELATED: Investigation Finds Alarming Holes in School Security

 

Oquendo’s mother Vanessa Fontaine, who has been leading search efforts to find her son for nearly four months, was devastated by the new information.

 

If the school safety agent “would have just got up and went outside and ran after him instead of closing the door and acting like nothing happened, my son would be here with me, not lost out in the street somewhere,” she said.

 

Attorney Perecman said the documents showed other issues that hampered the search for the boy: administrators did not have passwords to security cameras, so they could not review the footage and ascertain the fact that Oquendo had left the building until two hours after he first went missing.

 

And although the assistant principal requested that the school be put on a “soft lockdown” right after she learned about Oquendo’s disappearance, her request was denied so as not to “upset the other students,” the documents state.

 

A full lockdown was not ordered until 2 p.m., a full hour and a half after Avonte slipped out of the school.

 

The Department of Education said in a statement that “the case is currently under investigation by the Office of the Special Commissioner of Investigation. All School Security Agents are employed and trained by the New York City Police Department.

 

“Separate from the investigation, the Chancellor has expressed a determination that the Department learn every lesson possible from this terrible situation, and do everything in its power to prevent incidents like this from ever occurring again.”

 

The NYPD declined to comment, as they have not been able to review the Department of Education’s occurrence report.

 

Oquendo’s family filed a notice of claim in October, but they have not given up hope that they might find him alive. They have moved their base of operations from Long Island City to Astoria, where they are coordinating search efforts.

 

“I can’t sit home and not do anything, that’s my child,” she said. “I know he expects his mother and his family to look for him, that’s what we’re going to do.”

 

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

 

 

 

Police searching for missing teen last seen leaving LIC school

 

 

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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One Response

  1. […] #FindAvonte: Autistic 14-Year-Old Avonte Oquendo STILL Missing After 86 Days […]

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