Tag Archives: Powell Cove Boulevard and Endeavor Place

Avonte Oquendo remembered as smiling, courageous boy at funeral


By Queens Courier Staff | 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.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

More remains found potentially belonging to Avonte Oquendo


By Queens Courier Staff | 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.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

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


By Queens Courier Staff | 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

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES