Avonte Oquendo Still Missing

Tougher school security not a priority yet
October 10, 2013 Updated: October 8, 2018

NEW YORK—No clues have come up even after extensive searches for the 14-year old autistic boy, who went missing after running out of his school on Friday (Oct. 4) afternoon.

He was last spotted by a surveillance camera exiting Center Boulevard School in Long Island City.

His family is spreading posters around the neighborhood and police are searching especially in subways, as Avonte has run away few times before and was always found there.

The boy’s mother, Vanessa Fontaine was very upset by the fact that no one stopped her son leaving the building.

“There he is in the school, and not far from him, the security guard is sitting there, and she lets him walk out the door. It’s horrible,” said the mother, as quoted by WABC.

There was an aide at the school assigned to a group of six students, which the boy was part of, according to NYC DOE Chancellor Denis Walcott.

Right now, however, DOE first is concerned about finding the boy first.

“Let’s try find the student and then we’ll do the investigation on what exactly has happened,” said Walcott on Oct. 10 after press conference in City Hall.

According to Walcott, there have been cases of children leaving the school building before, but no similar incident has happened. “It’s just the norm that it does not happen,” he said.

He hesitated to talk about any changes in school safety procedures right now, until “due diligence” has been done, although he admitted DOE has to be “very conscious about it.”

Avonte Oquendo is 5’3″ and was wearing a grey striped shirt, black jeans and black sneakers when he disappeared. He is unable to communicate verbally. If you can offer any relevant information, please call NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS.

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