New York News

Avonte Oquendo search extends into 4th week

Saturday, November 02, 2013
avonte oquendo

Images provided by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children shows an undated photo of Avonte Oquendo who was last seen on a school surveillance video leaving the Center Boulevard School in Long Island City, Queens, around 12:30 p.m. Friday Oct. 4, 2013. The family of a 14-year-old autistic boy who cannot speak says he has been missing since Friday. (AP Photo/National Center for Missing & Exploited Children)

It's now been more than four weeks since the disappearance of 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo, who was last seen running out of his school in Long Island City, Queens, on October 4.

Still, his family is standing by its vow to find him.

Crews were out searching again Friday night.

Since the search began, police say they've received nearly 600 tips from the public and reviewed 460 videos for any clues.

Earlier this week, a picture snapped by a 13-year-old boy on the subway injected some much-needed energy into the effort to find Avonte, who is autistic and non-verbal.

The photo showed a boy who resembles Oquendo wearing a beige jacket and green khaki pants, sitting and looking straight ahead. The teen who took the photo approached the other boy and asked if he was Avonte, but the boy didn't answer.

The NYPD confirmed the boy in the photo's identity Thursday, and it was not Avonte. Still, his family remains hopeful he will be found alive.

"It's tough, it's just a tough situation right now," dad Daniel Oquendo said. "But we're hoping for the best."

The reward for information leading to his safe return is up to $95,000.

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