$10,000 reward offered for safe return of missing Queens teen; family plans to sue city


| ctumola@queenscourier.com |

Photos courtesy of NYPD
Photos courtesy of NYPD

Avonte Oquendo, 14, who is autistic and cannot verbally communicate, was reported missing on Friday after he was last seen leaving his LIC school.

Updated 4:20 p.m.

As the search continues for a missing autistic Queens teen, a $10,000 reward has been offered for his safe return.

The New York law firm Mayerson & Associates, which, according to a press release from Autism Speaks, dedicates itself “almost exclusively to the representation of individuals with autism” is putting $5,000.

On Thursday afternoon, the Manhattan Children’s Center, a nonprofit private autism school,  announced it has matched the law firm’s offer with an additional $5,000, for a total of $10,000. The additional reward money is coming from the Gelb Family Foundation.

Avonte Oquendo, 14, of Rego Park, was last seen leaving the Center Boulevard School at 1-50 51st Avenue in Long Island City around 12:38 p.m. on Friday, October 4.

The teen, who cannot verbally communicate, somehow managed to escape the school, though he is reportedly supposed to be supervised at all times.

His family is saying a security guard at the school saw their son leave but didn’t stop him and waited a long time to let the child’s mother know that he was missing, according to published reports. The family has filed a notice of claim to sue the school district and city.

Oquendo was last wearing a gray striped shirt, black jeans and black sneakers. Oquendo is 5’3″ tall and weighs 125 pounds.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES