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Queens Chronicle

Avonte Oquendo's remains may have been found

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Posted: Friday, January 17, 2014 9:42 am | Updated: 10:48 am, Tue Jan 21, 2014.

Body parts found along the East River shoreline in College Point may be those of Avonte Oquendo, the autistic teenager from Rego Park who ran out of his Long Island City school Oct. 4 and has been missing ever since.

Police sources say a girl walking along the shoreline saw remains.

A press conference held by David Perecman, the family's attorney, on Friday morning confirmed that the NYPD recovered three body parts: what appears to be a leg, a left arm and a third part that was thought to be a torso, but that has not been confirmed by police.

A size 5 1/2 Nike sneaker and pair of boy's size 16 jeans, the same kind and size that Avonte was wearing when he ran out of the Riverview School in Hunters Point, were also recovered.

"It's more than just speculation,” Perecman said, on the likelihood the remains belonged to Avonte. "Unfortunately there is good reasons to think it's him."

The remains were found at about 7:15 p.m. Thursday around Powell Cove Boulevard and Endeavor Place, according to the NYPD. All items were removed to the Queens County Morgue, and the medical examiner will determine the cause of death, the department said.

Through the morning, police  were diving into the river near where the body parts were found, using special underwater cameras in an attempt to find more remains. The NYPD could not immediately confirm use of the cameras.

“The remains have been in the water long enough that you can't identify the skin color," Perecman said.  "It's been in the water long enough that it's not an intact body." 

Vanessa Fontaine, Avonte's mother, is providing a DNA sample to test against the body. The father's DNA will also be tested but is already on file. 

According to Perecman and the NYPD, the test results will not be available right away. 

In the meantime, a patrol car has been placed outside of the Help Find Avonte Headquarters in Astoria and a police van is parked outside the family's Rego Park home. 

A representative from the headquarters said that Fontaine and the rest of Avonte's family were picked up by police this morning and will be with officers for most of the day. There are conflicting reports on whether Fontaine will speak to press later Friday but Perecman and the headquarters representative said the mother of three boys was not ready to speak with press just yet. 

Avonte, 14, has been the subject of a frantic search in Queens and beyond over the three months since he went missing, with his family constantly expressing hope that the boy, who is unable to speak, was picked up by someone, rather than somehow meeting his death. Fliers with his picture on them have been posted all over the city in hopes of finding him alive, with a reward of at least $70,000 offered for his return.

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