Remains Found in New York’s East River Could Be Avonte Oquendo

Jan 17, 2014 1:57pm

Human body parts found on a beach in Queens late Thursday likely belong  to missing autistic teen Avonte Oquendo, New York City authorities said today.

Oquendo was last seen on surveillance video leaving his school in Long Island City, Queens, in the middle of the day 15 weeks ago on Oct. 4.

David Perecman, an attorney for the family, said the boy’s mother, Vanessa Fontaine, is awaiting DNA test results to confirm whether it is indeed her son.

“She is not going to be convinced this is her son until there is enough to convince her,” Perecman told reporters today gathered at the waterfront area where police were searching.

Authorities recovered a pair of size five and a half Nike Jordan sneakers, and size 16 jeans, which are what Oquendo was wearing the day he went missing, according to Perecman.

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An New York Police Department dive unit continues the search for human remains after an arm and legs were discovered along a rocky shoreline in Queens, New York, Jan. 17, 2014.

The decomposed remains, including a human arm and legs, were found on a rock in the water near the College Point Yacht Club around 7 p.m. Thursday, authorities said.

Police said they responded to a 911 call after a 14-year-old girl said she saw the limbs.

The remains were moved to the Queens County Morgue as Harbor Patrol divers and helicopters searched the cold, dark waters for more body parts, police said.

Due to rising tide, the search had to suspended but it resumed at daybreak, police said. A medical examiner is set to perform an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

Over the past few months, volunteers and police searched New York’s expansive subway system for the 14-year-boy, who liked to ride trains. Authorities said they also concentrated efforts toward New York City waterways as autistic children are often drawn to water.

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A poster for missing autistic 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo hangs in a subway station on October 21, 2013 in New York.


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