Mother of Autistic Teen Sues City

For negligence in the death of her son
By Genevieve Belmaker, Epoch Times

A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against New York City in the disappearance and death of an autistic teen.

Vanessa Fontaine filed the suit on behalf of her 14-year-old son Avonte Oquendo in a court in Queens sometime this past week.

The suit accuses the city, the Department of Education, the NYPD, and a number of other people of negligence in the death of Oquendo, according to numerous media reports.

The Disappearance

Oquendo was caught on security footage leaving his school building midday on Oct. 4 and his body was later found on a beach in Queens. His disappearance set off a massive, citywide dragnet search that included posters at train stations and announcements inside of trains.

“This involves a tragic incident and we will review the lawsuit,” a representative for the City Law Department said Wednesday. The representative said they had not yet received the documents for review, though they are on the way.

The lawsuit comes just before a City Hall meeting scheduled for June 12 to review Avonte’s Law. The legislation would require the Department of Education to equip all exit doors with an alarm system in all elementary school buildings and buildings with special education programs, such as those for autistic students.

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