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Search For Missing Autistic Teen From Queens Enters Fifth Week

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The search for a missing 14-year-old autistic boy from Queens who wandered away from his school is now in its fifth week.

Avonte Oquendo, who cannot communicate verbally, was last seen on surveillance video leaving the Center Boulevard School in Long Island City on Oct. 4.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said police have received nearly 600 tips in the case, but all but nine of those tips have been closed out.

"The last clear video we have is him leaving the school by the side door, walking north, crossing the street and going into a park," Kelly said last week.

Avonte's family remains hopeful that he will be found. Flyers have been posted all over the city and hundreds of volunteers and police have been scouring neighborhoods looking for the teen.

Avonte Oquendo
Avonte Oquendo (credit: Handout)

A Facebook page called Bring Avonte Home has also been set up to share information and coordinate search efforts.

Last week, Sen. Charles Schumer called on the federal government to fund a program that would make tracking
devices available for children with autism and other developmental disorders who walk away from their caregivers.

The program would be modeled after one that is already in place for Alzheimer's patients.

Avonte is 5-foot-3 and weighs 125 pounds. He was last seen wearing a gray striped shirt, black jeans and black shoes.

Anyone with information is asked to contact NYPD Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, visit the Crime Stoppers website or text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) and enter TIP577.

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

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