Additional remains discovered near the East River in Queens have strengthened the belief that they belong to Avonte Oquendo. The 14-year-old, who has a severe case of autism that prevents him from communicating verbally, has been missing since wandering out of his Long Island City school on Oct. 4.
Thursday evening, 19-year-old Natasha Shapiro found the first of the remains after a left arm and two legs (which the New York Post said were still inside of a pair of jeans) and parts of a torso washed ashore. In addition, law enforcement officials and the Oquendo family lawyer, David Perecman, say the size-5 1/2 sneakers, size-16 black jeans and striped shirt match what Avonte wore the day he went missing.
According to the New York Daily News, police reportedly found what appeared to be a human jawbone, as well as a partial pelvis and rib bones on Friday. Oquendo's mother, Vanessa Fontaine, supplied the NYPD with a toothbrush for a DNA comparison. Perecman told the Post that DNA results should return by Wednesday.
Though Perecman said the outcome is "not looking great," he added: "I have to say it for Vanessa [Fontaine, the mother] and Danny [the father] and the brothers. It’s not Avonte until the DNA evidence comes in and says it is."
Sources told the New York Post that Oquendo was spotted running from a dog in Hunter’s Point South Park just after he walked out of Center Boulevard School in October. Officials suspect me may have fallen into the East River in an attempt to escape the dog.
"He had a huge fear of dogs and was seen running from one," a source told the Post. "He may have run in a panic and fallen into the water."