Missing Teen Avonte Oquendo's Remains Found, DNA Tests Confirm

Search For Missing Teen With Autism Ends In Tragedy

DNA tests have confirmed that the human remains found along the East River last week are those of 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo, who went missing more than three months ago in Long Island City, Queens.

NBC News reported Tuesday that the New York City Police Department had confirmed that the body parts found had been matched by DNA to Oquendo.

The Associated Press and The New York Times' J. David Goodman announced that the city medical examiner had also confirmed the tragic news.

Oquendo, who had autism and was unable to communicate verbally, had been missing since Oct. 4. The child was last seen leaving Center Boulevard School in Long Island City, where he was a student.

After his disappearance, a frantic citywide search -- which has involved hundreds of police officers, marine units and volunteers -- was launched.

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.

Last week, police found badly decomposed human remains along the East River in Queens. Clothing that resembled what Oquendo had been wearing the day he disappeared was also found.

The body parts were discovered "in College Point, just southwest of the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, about 9 miles by waterway from where [Oquendo] was last seen," NBC News reports.

avonte oquendo
After discovering an arm, torso and legs Thursday, police continue the search for human remains along a rocky shoreline in Queens, Friday, Jan. 17, 2014. The remains belong to 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo, officials confirmed Tuesday. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

It's still unclear as to how the teen's body ended up near College Point. However, NBC News writes that the East River, which "changes direction with the tide," could have carried Oquendo's body to the place where it was found.

According to the New York Post, Oquendo's family has expressed concerns that the teen's disappearance was not accidental.

Over the weekend, before the DNA test results were released, Daniel Perecman, the attorney representing the family, had said that the underwear found on the teen's body is believed to have not been his own.

“If it is him, what that indicates to me is that something happened,” he said, per the Post. “Someone got a hold of him, moved him. I can’t say they harmed him, but why would the underwear have gotten changed?”

On Monday, the New York Daily News quoted Perecman as saying that the boy's family was "doing everything they can to convince themselves, to keep up hope, that he might still be alive.”

Perecman is reportedly planning to hold a press conference later today.

Note: This article has been updated with additional information

Before You Go

Popular in the Community