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Updated: Avonte’s mother learns that her missing son’s remains were found in College Point

A NYPD boat and diver search the coast near where human remain were discovered Thursday night. Photo by Alex Robinson
TimesLedger Newspapers

The lawyer representing the mother of missing Rego Park teen Avonte Oquendo said Tuesday she has accepted the medical examiner’s findings that the human remains found on the shore in College Point were those of her 14-year-old autistic son.

A woman detective who has maintained a close relationship with the family ever since Avonte disappeared from his Long Island City school Oct. 4 had notified Vannessa Fontaine, his mother, that the remains belonged to him earlier in the day.

Fontaine then called her lawyer, David Perecman, and said “it’s Avonte, it’s Avonte,” he told a news conference at his office in Manhattan.

The city’s medical examiner’s office had confirmed Tuesday afternoon that the body parts discovered since Thursday night were those of Avonte.

Police had found almost all of the boy’s remains after a weekend-long search of an area near Powell’s Cove Boulevard and Endeavor Place.

There was some question as to whether Fruit of the Loom underwear found along with the body parts belonged to Avonte.

Perecman said it was not known whether the underwear was Avonte’s because his distraught mother said she did not want to look into his drawer to check on labels.

The lawyer said the family plans to file a negligence suit against the city Board of Education, which operates the special education Astoria school where Avonte was a student before he disappeared.

“The last thing in the world anyone should ever think as they kiss their child goodbye before they go off to school is that that is the last time they’ll see them,” Perecman said.

He said no one has come forward to claim the $95,000 reward the family offered to anyone who found their son.

Perecman also thanked the police, volunteers, community leaders, elected officials and the media for keeping the story of Avonte’s disappearance alive for months after he ran out of one of the school’exits.

Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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Reader Feedback

Helton from Flushing says:
How heartbreaking! For the past 3 months, I got so sad every time I saw his poster.

The poor kid must have felt so frightened and alone. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

I guess the only thing that can be said is that at least the family now knows.

RIP Avonte. You touched many lives.
Jan. 21, 3:34 pm
unknown from brooklyn says:
I feel the parents knew all along where avonte was I think it was all a plot and plan for him to leave how dont know. I feel lije after he left the school someone grabbed him was down wit the plot and scheme the parents had going. Who ever took the child was suppose to return him and didnt I think the plot was to sew the city period. The plan went wrong thats when parents spoke up cause now they r scared. And avonte coukd have been scared of water or fell in in a panic but how do u explain how his renaibs were found in pieces a person doesnt fall in water and just break up. The truth will come out and if this was a plan that gone wrong. The parents will pay either here on earth or on judgement day.
Jan. 23, 7:46 pm
unknown from brooklyn says:
Sorry spelled remains wrong. How do u explain that. Water just doesnt seperate a humans body into pieces
Jan. 23, 7:49 pm
rita from cambridge ma says:
vanessa talks about he did not know how to fend for himself or ask for help. its the parents fault! they did not give that dumb black boy no formal training or survival skills.they are un in formed parents! he did not know how to gesture for a cop or store clerk. no sign language skills! no writing paper! no computer that people use to communicate when they cant talk like people that have lost there voice to disease. he did not know how to get back to the school or get back home! you taught him no survival skills and why was he in school he was as dumb as dirt! you and his father got what you deserved. did you really think he was still going to be a live? a small black kid in new york city unable to communicate, unable to figure out his surroundings! unable to actually feed him self in any way!YOU SHOULD HAD PUT HIM IN A LOCKED DOWN FACILITY! OR KEPT THE LITTLE FREAK HOME!YOU SHOULD OF HAD A BACK UP PLAN JUST IN CASE SOME THING DID HAPPEN! YOU SHOULD HAVE INSTITUTIONALIZED HIM! p.s.i am black and disgusted!i got lost plenty of times as a kid found my way back home! dont say he was autistic! there was a 18 year old white boy that went missing around the same time from another state he managed to find his family.
Feb. 20, 1:19 pm
rita from cambridge ma says:
avonte was the worlds dumbest kid!
Feb. 20, 1:20 pm
Susan from CA says:
rita from Cambridge Mass , you are the world's dumbest piece of ——, go die ——,
you will burn in hell for your remarks. For the record, you are not black, you 're a racist jerk off.
Feb. 26, 11:49 am
Kelly from queens says:
unknown from Brooklyn, you are a dumb ass, can't even spell, finish school and stop being a bad detective, you are an ——
Feb. 26, 12:02 pm
ailsa from brooklyn bedstuy says:
Somethings wrong with tht unknown person for speaking those things maybe she really knows what happened other wise why would she speak like tht she probably hurt him
Feb. 27, 9:53 am
ailsa from brooklyn bedstuy says:
Somethings wrong with tht unknown person for speaking those things maybe she really knows what happened other wise why would she speak like tht she probably hurt him
Feb. 27, 9:53 am
ailsa from brooklyn bedstuy says:
Somethings wrong with tht unknown person for speaking those things maybe she really knows what happened other wise why would she speak like tht she probably hurt him
Feb. 27, 9:53 am

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