Avonte Oquendo Found Dead? DNA Evidence Not in Yet; Family Awaits Anxiously

January 19, 2014 Updated: July 18, 2015

Avonte Oquendo may have been found dead in Queens on Friday, but police aren’t sure until the DNA tests come back.

For months family, police, and volunteers scoured the city, including plastering posters across the vast subway system, trying to find the missing autistic boy.

Now the family is holding out hope that the dismembered limbs discovered on the banks of the East River in Queens are not from Oquendo, but fear that they could be.

it’s not Avonte until the DNA evidence comes in and says it is,” family lawyer David Perecman told members of the National Action Network on Saturday, reported the New York Daily News.

“On the other hand, it’s not looking great.”

Community advocate Tony Herbert, who joined in the search after Oquendo vanished on October 4 after walking out of his school in the middle of the day, said that the teen’s mother still has hope.

“Everyone’s waiting to see . . . but she still has faith that Avonte’s still alive, and that he’ll be found safe and sound,” said Herbert.


The NYPD Harbor Unit searches for human remains along the shoreline of the East River on January 17, 2014. The remains could be from missing autistic teen Avonte Oquendo. DNA results are expected Monday or Tuesday. (AP Photos/Jason DeCrow)


The final DNA results are expected on Monday or Tuesday.

Members of the NYPD’s Harbor Unit recovered a second arm and some human tissue. Previously, an ankle, an arm, and other body parts were found. Clothing consistent with Oquendo’s build and clothing sizes have been found as well.

Police believe that the teen stumbled and fell to his death in the East River while walking near the mouth of Newton Creek.

I just spoke to his grandmother this morning,” Perecman said. “Mom didn’t really want to pick up the phone, and I don’t blame her.”

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