Avonte Oquendo, Autistic Queens Teen, Still Missing After a Week

Image: Avonte Oquendo, Autistic Queens Teen, Still Missing After a Week

Friday, 11 Oct 2013 06:47 PM

By Robin Farmer

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Autistic teen Avonte Oquendo from Queens, N.Y., who has been missing for a week has 100 New York Police Department officers and many others searching for him.

Autism Speaks announced Friday a $70,000 reward for the safe return of Avonte, 14, who was last seen on a video camera leaving his Long Island school last Friday, New York CBS 2 reported.

The New York Daily News reported the high-profile case also involves help from at least one clairvoyant.

“All leads are investigated when it involves missing children and some of those leads come from speaking to psychics,” a source told the newspaper Thursday.

Avonte, who does communicate verbally and is fascinated by trains, allegedly bypassed a security guard as he left his school unescorted.

“I can’t watch it,” his mother, Vanessa Fontaine, told CBS 2, referring to the video surveillance tape. “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 has filed a notice of claim to sue New York City and the city Department of Education over her son’s disappearance, The Associated Press reported.

David Perecman, Fontaine’s lawyer, said the school did not notify Avonte’s mother until an hour after he left.

"They let him out without telling Mom!” Perecman told the Daily News.

Perecman told the newspaper Avonte may have been able to exit without attracting attention from the adults supervising him when a fight broke out in the cafeteria. He said the teen walked past a security guard at the exit school.

The guard asked the boy, “Where are you going?” and let him leave after getting no response, the lawyer said.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told reporters 100 NYPD officers have been assigned to find Avonte. The search will include scouring all subway tracks and stations and may expand to NJ TRANSIT and the Long Island Rail Road.

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

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