Tag Archives: found

Queens man who went missing from Manhattan hospital found safe


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy NYPD

A Richmond Hill man who wandered off from a Manhattan hospital earlier this week has been found safe, police said.

Israel Jardinez, 24, was left seen at Mount Sinai Hospital, on East 102 Street, just before 6 p.m. Monday, officials said.

According to WABC, Jardinez has the mental capacity of a child and went missing while at the hospital for a doctor’s appointment.

Police said he was found Saturday in good condition and has been reunited with his family.

 

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Avonte Oquendo remembered as smiling, courageous boy at funeral


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Cristabelle Tumola / Avonte Oquendo photo: handout

ANGY ALTAMIRANO AND CRISTABELLE TUMOLA 

After the search for autistic Rego Park teen Avonte Oquendo ended tragically, hundreds of mourners came out to say goodbye at his funeral Saturday, where he was remembered as a silent yet always smiling, courageous boy.

Family and friends gathered at a private ceremony held at the Greenwich Village Funeral Home in Manhattan, where a “beautiful silence” took over the room, said Leslie Burch, a close family friend. Also among those paying respects was actress Holly Robinson Peete, whose son has autism.

Avonte’s father is consoled before a service for his son at the Greenwich Village Funeral Home.

Mourners then made their way to St. Joseph’s Church, just a few blocks away, where a public mass was led by former Archbishop of New York Edward Michael Egan.

“He was a strong, courageous young man who handled the struggle with autism with tremendous greatness and true nobility,” said Egan, standing next to a large portrait of Avonte wearing a blue striped shirt, which was also handed out on prayer cards.

Egan also took the time to thank and recognize the efforts that went into the nearly four month search for the missing 14-year-old after he was last seen at the Center Boulevard School in Long Island City on Oct. 4.

Avonte’s mother waits to place a white rose on her son’s casket.

Officials confirmed Tuesday that remains found washed up along the East River in College Point last week were those of Avonte. The cause and manner of  death are pending on future tests, according to the medical examiner.

“Police officers and various agencies of our beloved city made it no less clear that they too knew how precious Avonte was,” said Egan.

Although Avonte’s family decided not to speak during the services Saturday, his mother, together with his brothers and other mourners, laid white roses on top of his white casket following the release of doves outside of the church.

Another family member that attended the service was Avonte’s cousin and best friend 20 –year-old Noah Javan Conti from Woodside who is mildly autistic.

Rocopra Conti, who raised Noah and also attended the funeral, remembers the last time he saw Avonte. That day the teen grabbed Rocopra’s face and gave him one last look.

Noah Javan Conti, Avonte’s cousin and best friend, and Rocopra Conti.

“That was the last moment we shared,” said Rocopra. “I knew how to love him, I knew what he was feeling. I just wish I could have done more.”

Family attorney David Perecman, who spoke at the funeral mass, said that even though the search was concluded, the story is not finished yet.

“I must ask all of you, I ask that this not be the last chapter in this very sad story. We must have at least one more,” said Perecman. “This loss that this family has of Avonte cannot be in vain, we must find out how to fix our schools, we must find out how to fix the system of security that failed this boy.”

There have been conflicting reports on how Avonte, who could not verbally communicate and was supposed to be supervised at all times, managed to leave his school the day he went missing.

Following the identification of her son, Vanessa Fontaine filed suit against the City of New York on Wednesday in Manhattan Supreme Court, according to court records.

Fontaine filed the court action demanding the NYPD release records relating to the disappearance of Avonte, according to published reports.

Perecman also said he will be filing a $25 million negligence claim against the city, focused on the Department of Education, for wrongful death.

 

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More remains found potentially belonging to Avonte Oquendo


| editorial@queenscourier.com

College Point

CRISTABELLE TUMOLA, TERENCE CULLEN, ANGY ALTAMIRANO AND MAGGIE HAYES

Authorities continue to search the College Point site this weekend where human remains and clothing possibly belonging to missing teen Avonte Oquendo were found, as tests are underway to determine the body’s identity.

The search began when a passerby found an arm and legs Thursday near Powell Cove Boulevard and Endeavor Place about 7:15 p.m.

Police later turned up jaw, shoulder, collar and pelvic bones, ribs and several vertebrae, the NYPD said.

Another arm was additionally recovered over the weekend and the search is continuing Sunday, according to published reports.

A pair of size 16 jeans and size 5 ½ Air Jordan sneakers were found with the remains, matching those belonging to Avonte, said David Perecman, the family’s lawyer.

Authorities also recovered a white shirt with gray stripes similar to what Avonte was wearing when he went missing, according to police.

Tests to determine if the body is Avonte will take “days,” cops said Friday.

Avonte was last seen at the Center Boulevard School at 1-50 51st Ave. in Long Island City around 12:38 p.m. on Oct. 4. The school is just across from the East River.

His mother, Vanessa Fontaine, said her 14-year-old son is afraid of the water and thought he “wouldn’t go near it.”

There have been conflicting reports on how the Rego Park teen, who cannot verbally communicate and is supposed to be supervised at all times, managed to leave the school.

Perecman will file suit on Monday, seeking $25 million in a civil suit focused against the Department of Education and school safety.

 

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Human remains, clothing possibly belonging to Avonte Oquendo found in College Point


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Robert Stridiron

Updated Saturday, Jan. 18, 10:10 a.m.

BY TERENCE CULLEN, ANGY ALTAMIRANO AND MAGGIE HAYES

Divers continue to comb through the East River after human remains washed ashore in College Point, potentially belonging to missing child Avonte Oquendo.

If DNA tests link the parts to Avonte, the family wants the city to pay up. Attorney David Perecman will file suit on Monday, seeking $25 million in a civil suit focused against the Department of Education and school safety.

A passerby found what police believe to be an arm and legs Thursday night near Powell Cove Boulevard and Endeavor Place about 7:15 p.m.

After searching the area, police discovered jaw, shoulder, collar and pelvic bones, ribs and several vertebrae.

A pair of size 16 jeans and size 5 ½ Air Jordan sneakers were found with the remains, matching those belonging to Avonte, said David Perecman, the family’s lawyer. The skin color, however, is unidentifiable.

A white shirt with gray stripes that is similar to what Avonte was wearing when he went missing was also discovered with the remains, according to police.

“It’s a huge amount of evidence,” Perecman said. “The evidence is the DNA.”

It will take “days” to determine if the body is Avonte, cops said.

“It’s been in the water long enough that you can’t tell the skin color. It’s been in the water long enough that it’s not an intact body,” Perecman said.

But Avonte’s mother, Vanessa Fontaine, continues to hold out hope.

Fontaine said her 14-year-old autistic son is afraid of the water and thought he “wouldn’t go near it.”

Perecman said Fontaine is “a stoic individual,” but “inside I think she’s twisted. The guilt that runs through her must be monumental.”

Avonte, 14, was last seen on October 4 at the Center Boulevard School at 1-50 51st Ave. in Long Island City. The school is just across from the East River. The Rego Park teen cannot verbally communicate.

There have been conflicting reports on how Avonte, who is supposed to be supervised at all times, managed to leave the school.

Since he went missing, the reward to find him has increased to $95,000.

With additional reporting by Cristabelle Tumola and Sal Licata

 

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Body of missing man who was staying with family in Queens found in Central Park Lake


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

The body of a missing 22-year-old college student visiting family in Jamaica was recovered from the Central Park Lake Wednesday after taking his own life, according to officials.

Aronno Haque was last seen Monday afternoon around Manhattan’s Union Square Park, police said.

After discovering his personal belongings near the lake, police searched the water for him Tuesday and Wednesday before finding his body, the NYPD said.

Among his belongings was a bag with a suicide note inside of it, police said. The Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed Thursday that he took his own life and said his cause of death was drowning.

Haque was attending Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Ind. and is a Bangladesh native, according to a Reddit post.

When on break from school, he stayed with family members in Queens, police said.

According to a Facebook page set up in his memory, Haque was an only child.

 

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Missing Queens woman found in Texas


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Rajwinder Kaur

A Queens woman who went missing last Sunday was found safe in Texas.

The family of Rajwinder Kaur, 26, reported her missing after receiving a text from her cell phone saying she had been killed, reports said.

Kaur left her Jamaica house in the evening of Sunday, July 8.

A source told Eyewitness News that Kaur took a bus to Texas to avoid to avoid an arranged marriage.

 

 

 

Little girl left on bus; driver charged


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Photo by Anthony DelMundo

Police parked a private bus driver in prison after she left her vehicle unattended — with a toddler still aboard.

Officers from the 110th Precinct responded to Christie Avenue and 99th Street in Corona at 9 a.m. on April 12 after receiving a 9-1-1 call from a Con Edison worker who spotted a child in the driver’s seat of a parked bus. Upon arrival at the scene, cops discovered two-year-old Samantha Bustamante abandoned inside the unattended private vehicle, which is operated by Anita Bus Company.

The police proceeded to break a window and remove the toddler, who they believe was left alone for roughly 15 minutes. Bustamante was taken back to the 110th Precinct, where she was reunited with her mother. EMS also responded to the precinct to evaluate the girl and determined she was in good physical condition.

“I was scared – terrified,” said mom Sandra Ramos, 24. “I started crying on the phone, but the police were telling me she was fine. I was terrified for my baby.”

Bustamante was picked up from her Elmhurst home at 7:20 a.m. by the Anita Bus and was supposed to be dropped off at Kathy’s Day Care, located at 97-30 57th Avenue in Corona, at roughly 8:30 a.m. with four other children. However, police say the driver, 62-year-old Ana Garcia, missed the girl while checking the vehicle after the other children departed.

Garcia was arrested by police after she returned to the bus and has been charged with failure to exercise control of a minor. She is also legally forbidden from coming near Bustamante. The NYPD says the Corona resident went home after parking the bus.

Attempts to contact Garcia were unsuccessful as of press time, and Anita Bus’ phone was not accepting incoming calls. Ramos says she paid for Anita Bus through Kathy’s Day Care, but a representative from the center would not comment as to whether they referred the bus service.

When Ramos received a call from the day care center informing her that her daughter had not been dropped off, she immediately called Garcia’s cell phone, but found police on the other end of the line. She initially suspected she was the victim of a practical joke, but her calm quickly turned to panic when the cops’ description matched Bustamante.

The frantic mother was then picked up from her job in Manhattan and brought to the station by police, where she found her daughter playing with officers and serving them coffee.

“When I first saw her, I started crying and I hugged my mom so my daughter wouldn’t see me. I didn’t want her to see the fear I had,” Ramos recollected. “She seemed so unaware – so brave in the situation. I guess she didn’t comprehend what happened so I didn’t want her to see me crying. I hugged my baby as hard as I could.”

Garcia’s son apologized to Ramos at the 110th Precinct, but she still has not been given an explanation for the mishap. She says she provides the bus company with a car seat for her daughter, and she is upset the child was unstrapped and able to walk to the driver’s seat.

“She was not in her car seat. She was walking around and that’s how they saw her,” Ramos said. “She was unbuckled and roaming around in the bus. It just shows their carelessness. Even if she was asleep or not tied in they are also supposed to check the bus. It’s frustrating.”

Despite the fear she initially felt for her daughter’s safety, Ramos is now happy just to have Bustamante safe and sound and is thankful a “good person” spotted her in the bus.
“What if it was someone else who passed by, someone not as good as the 9-1-1 caller – then they could have broken that window and taken my baby. I don’t even want to think about that. I want to think about having her,” Ramos said. “This is like a second chance for my daughter, and I’m just glad that I have her. I’m upset at the situation, but I’m happy with the result because I have my daughter safe.”

Man Hospitalized Following Jamaica Hotel Fire


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Man Hospitalized Following Jamaica Hotel Fire

The Conduit Motor Inn on 138th Avenue in Jamaica, Queens caught fire Monday night, and an injured man found inside one of the hotel rooms was taken to Jamaica Hospital with burns throughout his body. Read More: NY1

 

Maksim Gelman to get extra 25 years for Manhattan portion of killing spree

A Manhattan judge today promised to tack on an additional 25 years to the certain life sentence that Maksim “Butcher of Brighton Beach” Gelman faces in Brooklyn when sentenced tomorrow for admittedly slaughtering four people back in February. Gelman had pleaded guilty last month to the Brooklyn end of his blood-drenched, 28-hour spree, admitting he’d stabbed his mother’s boyfriend to death, stolen that victim’s car and fatally mowed down a pedestrian, then stabbed to death the object of his affections, beautiful Yelena Bulchenko, and her mother. Read More: New York Post

 

Queens Rapper Joins Growing Chorus For Awareness About Redistricting

A Queens rapper is adding his music and his voice to the growing chorus against a hot-button political issue. Himanshu Suri of the hip-hop group Das Racist performed Monday night at a fundraiser in Richmond Hill to help out SEVA, a community organization that is raising awareness about the potential consequences of gerrymandering, the redrawing of local political districts to benefit incumbents. Read More: NY1

 

Man dead, another arrested in LI police shootout

A man is dead and another in custody after following a shootout last night with a Nassau County cop, police said today. The body of the dead suspect was found inside the Valley Stream home following a botched home invasion attempt, Nassau County police homicide chief Det. Lt. John Azatta said. The events unfolded when at least two men attempted a home invasion at about 9:15 a.m., police said.  The homeowner drove up and noticed a man in the bushes with a gun. That’s when he tried honking his horn to scare him off, police said.  When that didn’t work, the man called his brother and told him, “There is a problem here,” according to Azatta. Read More: New York Post

 

Mother of Rikers inmate killed in ’08 fight club lashes out at guards

The mom of a Rikers inmate who was killed in connection to a sick fight club run by guards, lashed out today two disgraced officers and the wrist-slapping deal they cut.  Charnel Robinson, 38, lamented how she’ll never again see her 18-year-old son Christopher Robinson, who was beaten to death in October, 2008 by fellow inmates for refusing to participate in the jailhouse blood sport. “I’m not happy. It’s not a win for me. My son is gone,” Robinson said in Bronx Supreme Court, during the sentencing of two guilty corrections officers.  “At the end of the day, these people are still able to see their families. My only child is a sight I’ll never see again,” Robinson said. Read More: New York Post

 

Bronx boy shot through door lives in terror

An 11-year-old Bronx boy who was shot when a bullet ripped through his family’s front door lives in fear of being attacked again. “I don’t like answering doors anymore and I don’t want to go back there,” a traumatized Ryan Aguirre told The Post from a new apartment where he’s staying.  The sixth-grade honors student escaped serious injury when he was shot in the right hip late on the night of Jan. 5. “I was just playing a game and the doorbell rang, so I got up to answer it,” Ryan said. “When I was walking toward the door, I said, ‘Who?’ and they just started shooting. Read More: New York Post

 

Five more bodies found on Italian shipwreck Costa Concordia

The death toll from the crippled Italian cruise liner Costa Concordia rose to 11 after five more bodies were pulled from the shipwreck on Tuesday. The lifeless bodies of four men and one woman, estimated to be in their 50s and 60s, were found below the water line at the ship’s front, rescue officials said.  They were all still wearing lifejackets. Twenty four others, a mix of tourists and crew members, are still believed trapped inside. The latest find comes after Italian marine divers armed with explosives blasted their way into the capsized wreck and began navigating its jumbled, murky interior. Conditions inside the half-sunk Costa Concordia were disastrous, and the frogmen were fighting their way through piles of floating debris in the ships labyrinth of cabins, restaurants, bars, casinos and theaters, rescue officials said. Read More: Daily News

 

Occupy Wall Street in ‘winter hibernation’ as donations dwindle and weather gets icy

Occupy Wall Street has gone into “winter hibernation” as donations have dwindled and the weather has gotten colder. “We’re not broke,” Pete Dutro, a member of the OWS finance committee, said Tuesday. “But donations have not been as plentiful as they were last fall.” Asked about reports that the group had just $170,000 left in its bank account, Dutro chuckled. “There are other accounts,” he said. “In fact I just deposited $100,000 we set aside for bail.” Dutro confirmed an account in the Wall Street Journal that OWS’s main government body voted over the weekend to freeze all new spending. Read More: Daily News

 

 

Italian captain ignored orders to return to ship: audio recordings

The captain of a grounded Italian cruise ship can be heard in a recording making excuses as a coast guard official repeatedly ordered him to “get on board now,” according to a transcript of the conversation released today. In a telephone conversation, the Italian coast guard official berates the captain, who is on a lifeboat and repeatedly says he doesn’t want to return to the ship even as passengers are still being evacuated. Read More & Hear Audio: New York Post

 

Beyoncé says Blue Ivy Carter ‘just like any other kid’ in first interview since giving birth

Beyoncé shares that “words can’t be found” to describe holding her daughter Blue Ivy Carter for the first time. In her first interview since giving birth, the “Countdown” songstress also reveals that she believes her daughter will be “just like any other kid” and that husband Jay-Z will indeed change his daughter’s diapers.  “Nothing can describe the feeling,” Beyoncé tells Star magazine of nurses first handing her Blue Ivy Carter to hold. “You have the instant connection once you know your child is growing inside you, but when you hold it for the first time, the words can’t be found.” Read More: New York Post

 

NYPD developing new device to detect guns carried by criminals

The NYPD is developing a new device that can detect whether a perp is carrying heat without frisking him, Commissioner Ray Kelly announced today. The large mechanism uses infrared rays to scan a “form of radiation emitted from the body” of someone who is concealing a gun on the streets of the Big Apple, Kelly said at the Police Foundation’s State of the NYPD breakfast. Since the infrared rays cannot pass through metal, the device provides officers with a digital outline of exactly where the firearm has been tucked away on the subject’s body, Kelly said. Read More: New York Post