Skip to main content

See also:

Avonte Oquendo's family grieves; Grounds laid out to sue the city

On Jan. 21 CNN reports that the human remains found in the Queens river near the Riverview School for children with learning disabilities are indeed those of Avonte Oquendo, the missing autistic teen that disappeared from his school in October.

Avonte Oquendo has been found and family now grieves their loss.
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Now that the DNA has conclusively proven that the missing boy is deceased, his mother, Vanessa Fontaine has broken down and is "crying and crying" as described by her lawyer David Perecman. Now the family is in shock and grieving. Unfortunately, this ordeal isn't over for them. There is still a funeral to plan and arrangements to be made before they can lay Avonte to rest.

Since October, when Avonte went missing from his school, a citywide search was conducted, 468 subway stations were searched, police deployed sniffer dogs, combed surveillance footage, followed leads, and city workers even used special cameras to dredge the sewers around the school that the boy freely walked out of.

Perecman made many accusations that are grounds for suing the city because of the school's lack of attention to the child in their care. Specifically he questions:

Why did it take "several minutes" for Avonte's teacher to notice he wasn't in class? Why did it take 15 minutes for school administrators to find out? Why were police in a neighborhood precinct not alerted for about an hour?

Perecman feels that had the school not been in complete chaos on all the surveillance tapes that the situation could have been dealt with appropriately and police would have been notified in a timely matter and it wouldn't have even been an issue. The biggest concern that has still remained unaddressed is why Avonte was allowed to be wondering around without without an aide that he was to have at all times. While he may have been 14, he had the mental capacity of an eight-year old, and was completely nonverbal.

At this time, there is still missing information in this case. Avonte was deathly afraid of water according to his mother, so his being found there possibly suggests foul play, but that is still unseen information until further investigation.