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NY remains could be missing autistic teen

Human Remains Found Washed Up On East River

NEW YORK (AP) - Police were investigating whether human remains found along the shore of New York City's East River could be those of an autistic teen who walked out of his school and vanished more than three months ago, a law enforcement official said Friday.

A person shooting photos discovered what looked like an arm on Thursday, said the official, who had direct knowledge of the case.

Police also found a torso and legs in the water, along with a dark-colored shoe and clothes resembling what the boy was last seen wearing, said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Fourteen-year-old Avonte Oquendo has been missing since Oct. 4, the day he walked out of his school 4 toward a park overlooking the East River. His disappearance sparked a massive search that included hundreds of officers, marine units and volunteers.

Missing person posters were plastered on lampposts and placed on car windshields throughout the city. The teen, who did not speak, was fascinated with the subway system and Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials made announcements on trains for weeks asking for help finding him. Police checked every subway station and tunnel.

Authorities also hunted down hundreds of tips in New York City and suburbs. Despite a few false alarms, including an image of a person snapped on a train that resembled the boy, he has not been located.

But authorities are not clear whether the remains found Thursday belong to the missing teen. They were discovered at least 11 miles driving distance from his school.

The family's lawyer, David Perecman, said he spoke to Avonte's mother, Vanessa, around 2 a.m. He said she was considering the discovery to be just another tip until she hears something more definitive.

The remains were removed to the Queens County Morgue and will be examined by the medical examiner's office to determine an identification and cause of death, and that may take several days, police said. Detectives and water units were at the site early Friday searching for any additional evidence.

A reward fund for information leading to Avonte's safe return was at least $60,000, including $50,000 from an anonymous donation to the advocacy group Autism Speaks.

Avonte's family has filed a notice of claim saying they planned to sue the city, arguing that the officials at Avonte's school allowed him to walk out of the building and waited too long to notify police that he was missing.

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1000|Char. 1000  Char.
Hey beautiful... January 17 2014 at 11:38 PM

A prayer for Avonte,,

Lord of all kindness, we ask your blessing for the children in our care who have such special needs.
We ask for their comfort when their living is hard.
May they experience joy if they ever feel abandoned.
May they be blessed with strength to overcome challenges.
May they be blessed with friendship to allow them to grow in love.
Lord, we pray for all of our children, that they may realize their dreams and live their lives in the fullness of your love and mercy.
May the healing touch of mercy be there for our children.
Let our hands be your hands, our words be your words and let your mercy flow through all of us who have your children in our care.
We pray in the name of Jesus.

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1 reply
nappiland Hey beautiful... January 18 2014 at 12:08 AM

Amen God bless his soul

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pjarizona January 17 2014 at 11:40 AM

How did he get off school grounds with no one knowing? Scary.

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cape2peach January 17 2014 at 12:11 PM

I know how it feels to have a missing child and I am praying for his mother.

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Bernice Jones January 17 2014 at 12:14 PM

My autistic son could not speak either. He would walk away at any given moment but he never went very far. I live in Miami, FL. One day the teacher in charge of him needed to smoke a cigarette, she walked across the road from the school to smoke because there is no smoking on school grounds. My son walked away and climbed up the side of I-95 (an expressway), the only thing that saved him was the guard rails. Our schools do not have enough staff to take care of our special needs kids. Someone beat my son so bad at school his back was bleeding. That's when I removed him from school and hired someone to take care of him at home. My decision to remove him from school probably saved his life. Yes, I could have sued the school system, but I would have to pay myself as a property tax payer it would have cost every property tax payer more in tax to settle my suit. When you sue the school system you are suing yourself and other tax payers. We pay for our school system.
GOD please keep Avonte in your loving care.

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3 replies
trekeykay01 January 17 2014 at 5:04 PM

To those who are ignorant to life regardless of this childs flaws he was still a human that deserved love and respect. I hope none of your loved ones become incapable of taking care of themselves and get a caregiver with a closed mind as you. I guarantee you will be shouting a different tune. ge0rgechevrolet this is for you what a dumb A** prayer to the family and friends of this missing person whoever it may be

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sailcharterss January 17 2014 at 1:05 PM

This is certainly a sad story. I am sorry for Avontes family. I am also amazed though that so many people willing to accept and not question the staggering increase in autism in the US. CDC last reported that 1 in 88 American children and 1 in 54 American boys has autism- a lifelong neurological disorder marked by defictis in speech/ social ability. Most kids need lifelong care and will never live independently. To put that number in perspective, in the 1970's, Autism effected about 1 in 10,000. Now we are seeing the numbers skyrocket and reports of autism clusters in MN and CA and that is not because doctors got really, really good at diagnosing. The autism increase is real and alarming. We have 1 in 88 diabled American children today boys are more effected than girls by a 4:1 ratioand our . This is not normal folks.

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1 reply
mspat1001 sailcharterss January 17 2014 at 1:14 PM

More children being diagnosed for sure, back in the 1070's autism was not even discussed just children mostly called mentally retarded. Now if a child is not having eye contact its considered autistic. Not fair to the child. Get a diagnosis and free medicaid for testing but let go, get medicaid and child now labeled for life. Concentrate on the children who really have autism.

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1 reply
sailcharterss mspat1001 January 17 2014 at 1:44 PM

excuse me but my son HAS autism. I concentrate on every day and I ask myself how a perfectly normal baby could somehow inexplicably regress into autism? hmmm, please do not try to tell me how to think. If you researched this yourself and quit accepting some of the missinformatin youd learn that the increase is real. The huge increase cannot be explaied away by attributing it all to so called "better" or even "substitute" diagnosis (for example then MR now autism) . A claim which autism experts have rejected. Autism experts have gone on record saying the increase is "real", "alarming and an epidemic". Only 26% of the cases can be attributed to so called better or substitute diagnosising and a very large precentage of todays cases are "unexplained" according to Autism Speaks. Telling an autism parent to "let go"? really? My son was diagnosed by trained professional and medicaid did not pay for it. You make it sound like diagnosis are being given out like candy for anyone who wants it and that could not be farther from the truth. Most of these kids I know with autism genuinely struggle, many cannot speak or have other issues like seizures and severe sensory issues.

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naomyguevara January 17 2014 at 1:41 PM


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Carol January 17 2014 at 2:45 PM

I will not dignify that post with an answer!!!!

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smfndr January 17 2014 at 2:51 PM

Carol Mr. Ford and Mr. Chevy are the same idiot.

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2 replies
annedyth smfndr January 17 2014 at 3:08 PM

smfndr,thanks for the information, knowing who the trolls are ,is good.

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ge0rgechevrolet smfndr January 17 2014 at 4:01 PM

That's not nice. I didnt' call you names.

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flamsnowmobile January 17 2014 at 3:43 PM

They should sue the city for letting a child who has a disability walk out of school. My heart, thoughts and prayers go out to the family. He is in a better place now.

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1 reply
mspat1001 flamsnowmobile January 17 2014 at 3:47 PM

I believe it was a private school, may be wrong/

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