Avonte Oquendo, an autistic 14-year-old went missing on October 4th 2013, when he somehow escaped teachers and school officials at Center Boulevard School, his center in Long Island City. Surveillance video captures Avonte running out of the school, but no one knows the surrounding details of the situation. He has been missing ever since and concern is mounting throughout New York City as little to no substantial leads have been found concerning his whereabouts. What we know about Avonte is that he is non-verbal, in many sources described as "mute", that he has autism, that he loves trains, and that he resides in Rego Park in Queens. The search continues throughout New York City and because of the immense media coverage of the story, much of the general public has been discussing and posting on social media in order to help. Police have been searching train stations and tunnels, as well as the general and surrounding area. They have even employed the help of psychics in this matter. Avonte's family asks that if you spot him, to take action by calling the police and following him from a distance so as not to scare him away. Avonte's brother Danny Oquendo has been active in setting up a command post near Avonte's school, organizing many volunteers, including some 75 mothers, and handing out fliers to the public. Whatever leads they do get they take very seriously and follow up by calling Police detectives and sending volunteers to that location. At this point there is a $70,000 reward for the safe return of Avonte.
As an educator I implore the public to please be aware of your surroundings and who you come across while going about your daily routines. His mother has also stated that if he is hungry he might walk into a store and try to take a piece of candy. He was last seen wearing a grey striped shirt, black jeans, and black sneakers. He stands at about 5' 3" and weighs about 125 lbs. His family is not giving up hope and we shouldn't either. If you see Avonte please contact the detective on the case at (718) 520-9252, or Detective Borough Queens North at (718) 520-9200.