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Queens Chronicle

Avonte Oquendo is dead, DNA tests confirm

14-year-old autistic Queens boy was missing since October

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Posted: Monday, January 20, 2014 7:35 pm


DNA tests confirm that the remains found in College Point are indeed those of Avonte Oquendo, the Police Department announced Tuesday afternoon.

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The attorney for Avonte Oquendo's family on Monday addressed what was at that point the lack of a DNA link between the remains found in College Point on Friday and the autistic 14-year-old who has been missing since October, but a skull and teeth found over the weekend have been added to the mounting evidence being tested by the Medical Examiner. 

"There is no DNA evidence at this point in time and the M.E. will not share anything until they have everything," attorney David Perecman said. 

The confirmation was announced the next day.

Vanessa Fontaine, Avonte's mother, had been "unswayed" over the past few days according to Perecman.

"When I speak to her, she doesn't want to watch the news, she doesn't want to dig further into it," he said to reporters on Monday evening. "She's just letting the days go by until she gets real evidence from the M.E."

Fontaine recently handed over a sample of her DNA and her son's baby footprint to the medical examiner's office. Perceman said the socks and sneakers that were tied tightly to the feet found on Friday helped preserve the skin well enough that the medical examiner will be able to take a print off it. 

Perecman reports that he is continuing his investigation into the security protocols taken at Avonte's school the day he went missing.

"Out of a total 20 cameras they have on the first floor, they only handed over video from five," Perecman said. 

He alleged that the report given by the school's security guard may not be accurate. 

"She said three times, one time emphatically, that she saw Avonte go up the stairs, but we know this is isn't the case," the attorney said. 

He is asking the Department of Education to hand over any remaining video or audio captured on the day Avonte bolted out of the door and will likely include his findings in the impending lawsuit he will file on behalf of Avonte's family.

"Now is not the most appropriate time to begin a lawsuit, so we've held off on that but the findings of the M.E. may alter what we're suing for," Perecman said. 

The Board of Education is conducting its own investigation into Avonte's disappearance.

This story was updated after tests confirmed a DNA match to Avonte Oquendo.

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