crimesider

Avonte Oquendo Missing: Search continues for autistic NYC boy, police say he may have boarded a train to NJ or beyond

Avonte Oquendo, 14, autistic boy from Queens, NY has been missing since October 4, 2013. CBS New York

Avonte Oquendo, 14, autistic boy from Queens, NY has been missing since October 4, 2013.
CBS New York
(CBS/AP) NEW YORK - New York City's police commissioner says an autistic boy who walked out of a Queens school 12 days ago and hasn't been seen since may have taken a train to New Jersey or beyond.

Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Wednesday that the NYPD has expanded its search for 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo beyond the city. He says Avonte was fascinated with trains and may have gotten aboard one.

CBS New York reports a search party will scour train stations Thursday in an attempt to find the boy, whose family members say he is non-verbal and has the mental capacity of a 7-year-old.

Daniel Oquendo, Avonte's brother, told the station, "Maybe if he's not out in the street, then somebody does have him and I just hope that whoever does have my brother, they just give him up please so we can have him back."

Avonte was last seen leaving his school in Long Island City, NY on October 4. Police said a school safety officer who reportedly stopped Avonte as he tried to leave the school is not to blame.

According to Autism Speaks, a non-profit organization, wandering by children with autism is common, dangerous and puts tremendous stress on families.

A $70,000 reward is being offered for information on the boy's whereabouts.

Many volunteers have joined the search for the missing boy. Avonte is described as 5-foot-3 and weighs about 125 pounds. He was last seen wearing a grey striped shirt and black jeans.

Those with information are asked to contact the NYPD at 800-577-TIPS.

  • Iris Carreras

    Iris Carreras covers crime for CBSNews.com

Comments

Follow Us