Family Could Soon Learn Fate of Missing Autistic Boy

DNA may link remains to Avonte Oquendo, missing since October

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National Center for Missing & Exploited Children / AP

Avonte Oquendo

The family of an autistic New York City teenager who has been missing since October may learn Wednesday whether the remains found last week in the East River belong to their son.

Investigators are conducting DNA tests to identify the body, but preliminary evidence seems to suggest a strong possibility that the body found washed up last Thursday is Avonte Oquendo. “Unfortunately, there’s good reason to think it’s him,” the family’s lawyer David Perecman told the New York Daily News. “It’s more than just speculation.”

The body was found wearing the same clothes Avonte was last seen wearing, including the same size 5 1/2 Nike Air Jordans. The remains were found by a photography student who was taking pictures of the rocky beach in Queens. The teen, who cannot speak, went missing after he walked out of his school on Oct. 4. New York police combed the city and searched the transit system to find the boy, since his parents said he was fascinated with the subways. A reward for information leading to his return reached almost $90,000.

The DNA results are expected to be released on Wednesday.

[New York Daily News]