Since Avonte Oquendo disappeared authorities and family alike were hopeful they’d find him. The search for the autistic boy may have taken a tragic turn though. While looking through the East River the NYPD discovered body parts, clothes, and sneakers that match Avonte’s.
To confirm the remains found were indeed Avonte’s, a comparison DNA with his mother, Vanessa Fontaine, need to be taken.
“Unfortunately, there is good reason to think it’s him. It’s more than just speculation,” family lawyer David Perecman was quoted as saying in the Daily News. “They’re distraught, but they’re hopeful it’s not him. They remain optimistic that he’s still out there.”
Police were tipped off to the location when a 19-year-old photography student found body parts while working on an assignment for class. The East River search then began shortly after that at 7 p.m. Thursday. During the search divers felt through underwater rocks and cadaver dogs sniffed the shoreline. By nightfall Friday the search ended but again resumed early Saturday morning.
What was found were legs, jawbone, pelvis, possibly rib bones, size 16 Old Navy Jeans, 5 ½ Air Jordans, and a striped search –the same clothing Avonte was last seen wearing. The one glimmer of hope the family is holding on to is the underwear found on the remains were a size large Fruit of the Loom. Avonte’s mother says she dressed him in Hanes.
“Please keep your thoughts and prayers with Avonte's family at this time.” The Facebook Bring Avonte Home writes. “Thank you.”
Avonte Oquendo was last seen skipping out of his High School in October. One of the first places police checked was in the subways because the boy was fascinated with them. Authorities then went on to search Long Island, New Jersey, local waterways, and interviewed sex offenders.