Tag Archives: reward

Reward for missing autistic teen increased to $75K as search continues two weeks later


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy NYPD

After two weeks since Avonte Oquendo was last seen leaving his Long Island City School, the search continues for the lovable autistic teen.

Avonte, 14, 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. There have been mixed 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, said the family’s attorney, David Perecman.

According to Avonte’s grandmother, the security guard appointed to the front of the school said she had seen Avonte running towards the door, asked him where he was going and after he did not respond, she just allowed him to leave because she did not know he was a special needs student.  Yet, according to Perecman, no student at the school is allowed to leave the property until dismissal.

Avonte’s mother, Vanessa Fontaine, previously told The Courier the school “failed her” when they took close to an hour to inform her that Avonte had gone missing.

However, according to reports, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the school safety officer did nothing wrong and investigations show she did what she had to do.

The NYPD has officers searching the streets daily for the boy, who family says loves trains, and looking for him by helicopter and with divers. Recently, the police has been driving around in patrol cars and search vans with loudspeakers echoing Avonte’s mother’s calls.

Avonte’s family also sought the help from the Texas Equusearch Mounted Search and Recovery Team, a group of volunteers that have helped find numerous missing people throughout the country.

The team said it would be traveling to the site on Friday, October 18 and would “evaluate the situation” to determine if they have resources to help search for Avonte.

The family has filed a notice of claim to sue the City of New York for $25 million, taking claims of negligence against both the Department of Education and the Special Security Division which provide the security agents for the school.

An initial $5,000 reward for Avonte’s return was offered by Mayerson & Associates, a New York Law Firm which represents individuals with autism. Manhattan Children’s Center, a nonprofit private autism school, announced it was matching the law firm’s offer with an additional $5,000 from the Gelb Family Foundation.

Since then, the reward has increased to $75,000 through the support of Health First, the employer of the missing teen’s mother, Suzanne and Bob Wright, co-founders of Autism Speaks, David Perecman of the Perecman Firm, and an anonymous donor, according to Autism Speaks.

Reverend Al Sharpton will hold a community outreach rally on Saturday, October 19 at 9:30 a.m. at the National Action Network headquarters located at 106 West 145th Street in Manhattan.

Avonte was last seen wearing a gray striped shirt, black jeans and black sneakers. He is 5’3” tall and weighs 125 pounds.

The NYPD has released a new photo of Avonte together with an image of the shirt he was wearing the day he went missing.

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 text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

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Shot cop Craig Bier released from hospital


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo by Mike DiBartolomeo

Sergeant Craig Bier, who was shot in each leg while pursuing a suspect, was released today from the hospital.

Wearing a backward baseball cap and a bandage covering his right knee, the 15-year veteran left Jamaica Hospital less than two days after being shot and a day following surgery to remove a bullet from his leg.

Bier became the 10th NYPD officer shot this year on Wednesday night as he and his partner approached a suspect in Jamaica.  As the suspect fled, Bier cut off his escape route and the two exchanged fire.  Bier was hit in each leg.

The 15-year veteran has been awarded a total of 65 medals, 14 for meritorious police duty.

Police are currently searching for the alleged shooter, John Thomas, 24 and are offering a $32,000 reward — $10,000 from the police union — for his capture and conviction.

Woodhaven woman seeks justice for dad’s murder


| mchan@queenscourier.com

One Woodhaven woman is on the hunt for the man responsible for killing her dad.

On November 20 of last year, Carlos Rosario, 58, was working in Bushwick, Brooklyn when a robber attacked him in his tire shop, shooting him once in the mouth.

He died even before he reached the hospital, said his daughter Ismelda, 24.

The investigation is ongoing, and the NYPD is offering a $12,000 reward leading to the assailant’s arrest, but Ismelda said she won’t rest until her dad’s killer is brought to justice.

“I’m overwhelmed. I’m shocked — that’s the best word I can use right now,” she said. “I’d just like as much help as possible so that I can continue on with my life.”

Ismelda said she wakes up every day wondering who killed her father and where the murderer could be right now.

“All those questions are always racing through my mind,” she said.

Ismelda, who now lives with just her mother, said she has since gone back to graduate school at Baruch College, where she also works part-time as a graduate assistant.

Though going back to her daily routines helps keep her “busy and distracted” from the pain, she said she is constantly reminded of the tragedy.

“I just really want to focus on advocacy and trying to spread the word,” said Ismelda, who reached out to the community and local civic groups to extend her cause.

Meanwhile, Ed Wendell, president of the Woodhaven Residents Block Association, praised her efforts and strength.

“Her family should be really, really proud of her for what she’s doing,” Wendell said. “I can’t imagine the horror of that happening. I can’t imagine having the pain of losing a loved one mixed with having them taken away so violently and so suddenly. At the same time, I can’t imagine what it’s like not even having the chance for some sort of justice.”

Wendell said he hopes finding the killer will relieve some of the family’s pain.

“The family doesn’t have closure, and that’s what they have to hold out their hope for,” he said. “She’ll never get her father back — that’ll never happen — but if she can get justice, there will be some measure of closure. There has to be someone out there that has some sort of inkling about what happened.”

Anyone with information to this case is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.

Police release sketch of suspect who threw Molotov cocktails in Queens


| brennison@queenscourier.com

RMA 3 -2011w

Police have released a sketch of the suspect they believe is responsible for throwing Molotov cocktails at four locations in Queens on New Year’s Day.

Between 8-10:15 p.m. on Sunday, January 1, the suspect threw four lit Molotov cocktails at different locations throughout Queens, police said.  The homemade bombs caused fire and property damage, though no injuries have been reported.

“No matter what the motivation was of the individual who threw Molotov cocktails in Queens, his actions stand in stark contrast to the New York City of today that we’ve built together,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

The NYPD’s Hate Crime Unit is investigating the attack.

The mayor is scheduled to meet with religious leaders today at the Imam Al-Khoie Islamic Center, one of the locations the suspect struck.

The other locations were at 179-46 Hillside Avenue, 146-62 107th Avenue and 88-20 170th Street.

Police described the suspect as 5-feet-8-inches tall, weighing 200-pounds and between the ages of 25-30.  The suspect was seen driving a light-colored, four-door sedan.

A $10,000 reward is being offered to anyone who can provide information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual responsible for the crime.  Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).  The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup – 11/02/2011: $10,000 Reward Offered In Deadly Wrong-Way Queens Crash


| jlane@queenscourier.com

The Round Up

Ex-Texas FBI agent convicted in NY of making false statements after having sex with source

A former Texas FBI agent was convicted Tuesday of making false statements about a confidential source after he had an intimate sexual relationship with her. Adrian Busby, 37, of El Paso, Texas, was convicted of four counts of making false statements in U.S. District Court. The charges carry a potential prison term of up to 20 years. Prosecutors accused Busby of making numerous false statements regarding the steps he took to assist the woman during a criminal trial in Queens that resulted in her conviction. Read More: Washington Post

 

 

Feds decline investigation of Queens detention center

The U.S. Marshals Service has declined to investigate allegations by activists that immigrants at a private New York City detention center have been abused. Jeff Carter, a spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service, said Tuesday that the agency had conducted annual and spot inspections at the Queens Detention Facility since 2008. The center passed its most recent inspection in September, he said. Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Make the Road New York, an immigrant rights group, called for an investigation of the center last month after saying they had received reports of mistreatment of detainees and lack of medical care at the privately operated center. Read More: Wall Street Journal

Body found along Jersey City waterfront identified as Queens woman

Detective work on both sides of the Hudson River has led to the identification of a drowned woman found floating near Jersey City’s Newport community on Saturday, officials said Sunday. The body of Yin Har Lau, 59, of Queens, was identified by her son just before noon Sunday at the state Regional Medical Examiner’s Office in Newark, Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio said. Read More: NJ.com

$10,000 Reward Offered In Deadly Wrong-Way Queens Crash

A $10,000 reward has been posted for information leading to the arrest of a driver wanted in a deadly wrong-way crash that killed a beloved bar owner in Queens. The crash occurred around 6:45 a.m. of Oct. 15, when 37-year-old George Gibbons closed up his “Gibbon’s Home” bar in Maspeth before catching a cab to go home. Read More: CBS News

 

Closing Arguments Expected In NYPD’s Sean Bell Shooting Trial

Closing arguments are expected to begin Wednesday afternoon in the departmental trial of two city police officers involved in the Sean Bell shooting. Officer Michael Carey and Detective Gescard Isnora both testified that they acted in the interests of their own safety when they and three other policemen shot and killed the unarmed man outside a Queens strip club in 2006. Read More: NY1

 

Confessed murderer Edwin Fuentes leads cops to last of his wife’s remains hidden in Forest Park

A former butcher who copped to choking his wife and then dismembering her body led cops Tuesday to the last of her remains in Forest Park in Queens. Edwin Fuentes, 44, had agreed as part of a plea deal to show cops where to find the remains of his wife, Reina De Los Santos Reyes, a mother of two, authorities said. The remains, the last parts of her skeleton still missing, were found inside of a plastic bag within the park, which is near where the couple once lived in Woodhaven. Read More: Daily News

 

Grenade found inside a Queens home owned by a Vietnam vet

A grenade was found inside a Queens home on Tuesday – causing a brief panic for quiet block, police sources said. An electrician found the grenade while working inside the two-story house on 89th Ave. near 107th St. in Richmond Hill about 4 p.m., the sources said. Read More: Daily News