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Search continues for missing boro teen

Police search Long Island City for the missing autistic teen. Photo by Ellis Kaplan
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Police have chased down more than 200 tips they received about the disappearance of Avonte Oquendo, but as the massive search for the missing autistic Rego Park teenager proceeded through the third week, the authorities had no new information.

“What we’re doing now is searching,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly was quoted as saying in Monday’s New York Post. “We’ve interviewed anyone who has an arrest as far as the abuse of a child under 16. We’re looking at the [sex offender] registry. We’re going over locations again and again .... we’re doing everything I think we reasonably can do.”

The city remained plastered with fliers asking tipsters to come forward with information nearly four weeks since Avonte, 14, ran out of The Riverview School in Long Island City, a public school for students with special needs, the afternoon of Oct. 4.

Avonte is autistic and cannot speak, and since his disappearance his family has kept vigil in a tent erected from the place he was last seen.

His brother, Daniel Oquendo Jr., posted a video to his Tumblr blog Monday saying he had to return to Florida and urged supporters to keep up the search.

“Sadly, today was my last day in New York. I had to come back to Orlando to go back to work, pay my bills, but I just wanted to thank everybody for all their help and please stay on the lookout for my little brother, Avonte,” he said. “Thank you and God bless you.”

The missing boy’s family said he was found near the subway after running off previously, so the initial search focused around transit tunnels near the school at 150 51st Ave., where surveillance video showed him leaving around 12:40 p.m. Oct. 4.

Since then the hunt has spread across the city and the tri-state area, with police deploying helicopters, boats and more than 100 officers, but the Post said Kelly hinted that the department may have to scale back its efforts.

“We haven’t cut back any resources, but it is something that we are going to have to look at during the week,” the police commissioner said. “There’s no new information.”

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

Anyone with information about his disappearance is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS. The public can also submit their tips by logging on to the Crime Stoppers Website at nypdcrimestoppers.com or texting their tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

Updated 10:22 pm, October 24, 2013
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Reader feedback

Armen from CPW & 64th Street says:
About 3 days ago I called the Missing Person's desk at NYPD with the following information.

About 2-3 weeks ago one late afternoon I saw a kid sitting at a bench south of the baseball fields in Central Park. I was out with my dogs, I'm guessing around 5:30-6pm when I saw a kid that looked like him alone at the bench. About an hour later, when I was returning home using the same path, the kid was still there. At the time, I had not heard of Avonte Oquendo missing, so although I thought it was strange, unfortunately I didn't take action. I can't remember exactly the day, but I'm guessing it was 2-3 weeks ago.

I called in to make sure the park is not excluded from the search effort to find him. I'm not 100% sure the kid I saw was Avonte, but I know at the time I thought this kid was too young to be sitting alone as it was getting dark out. He wasn't interacting with anyone and it just didn't feel right.
Oct. 24, 2013, 1:40 pm
Maria from brooklyn says:
Was he wearing a striped gray and white shirt?
Oct. 24, 2013, 3:30 pm
Kelly from Auburndale says:
Did you tell the police?
Oct. 24, 2013, 8:48 pm
Kelly from Auburndale says:
You can also post that information on their Facebook page.
Oct. 24, 2013, 8:49 pm

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