Human Remains Belong to Avonte Oquendo, Missing NYC Autistic Teen, ME Says

DNA exam confirms that remains found in East River are those of Avonte Oquendo.

Jan. 21, 2014— -- The New York City Medical Examiner’s Office has confirmed through DNA testing that the remains found last week in Queens were those of Avonte Oquendo, the 14-year-old autistic boy who walked away from his school on Oct. 4 and has been missing ever since.

The cause and manner of death are pending, officials said today.

For weeks his missing poster was plastered in the subways, and a loud-speaker message describing Oquendo blared at commuters in the city’s all-out effort to find him. The New York Police Department notified the family a short time ago, officials said.

Oquendo's remains were found last Thursday after a teenager taking photos for a school project noticed an arm on the banks of the East River. Police later found the legs and the lower torso during low tide, along with the black Air Jordan sneakers and jeans Oquendo was wearing when he was last seen. The remains were identified through DNA given by his family, the medical examiner said.

David Perecman, an attorney for the family, said last week that the boy’s mother, Vanessa Fontaine, was awaiting DNA test results to confirm whether the remains were indeed those of her son. “She is not going to be convinced this is her son until there is enough to convince her,” Perecman told reporters gathered at the waterfront area where police were searching.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.