Candlelight vigil for missing autistic boy; reward increased

Avonte Oquendo

Candlelight vigil for missing autistic boy; reward increased

Posted: Updated:
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

The brothers of Avonte Oquendo, 14, of Rego Park, Queens, say they are not giving up hope that their autistic brother will be found alive and well. Friday marks one week since Oquendo was last seen.

The organization Autism Speaks is upping the reward for the safe return of the boy to $50,000.

Friends, family, and others held a candlelight vigil outside his school in Long Island City on Friday, a week after he vanished.

Avonte, who is is unable to speak, was spotted in security video leaving the Center Boulevard School on 51 Avenue at about 12:30 p.m. on October 4. He never made it home.

"He ran outside and no one ran after him to stop him," said Oquendo's mother, Vanessa Fontaine.

"He's not familiar with this area. He has only been coming to this school for a month," said Anthony Fontaine, Avonte's brother.

Police and family members believed they had a break in the case on Tuesday when witnesses reported seeing a boy fitting the description of Avonte.

The individual found, another missing boy from Harlem, was not Oquendo, according to family.

The NYPD has been following on several leads including input from psychics but none have panned out, said Anthony Fontaine.

The family says hundreds of people have turned out to a makeshift command center outside the school where Avonte ran from.

A security guard saw Avonte leave and didn't stop him.

"He should have followed by his job code. He failed," said Anthony Fontaine.

"What I thought as soon as I met Vanessa was that this cannot happen absent either an inappropriate system or negligently drawn up system or negligence on the part of someone at the school," said family attorney David Perecman.

They have filed a notice of claim against the Center Boulevard School.

Avonte has a very good understanding of the NYC bus system and is used to taking buses.

"He never rides the trains. But he loves trains. Any boy loves trains," said Vanessa Fontaine.

Among the place where investigators have been searching are train yards and MTA stations.

At the request of the NYPD, the state's Division of Criminal Justice Services issued a missing child alert.

"If you approach him, call his name. He doesn't like touch too much. He'll probably run. Try to keep him where's he's at," said Fontaine.

If you have any information about Oquendo, please contact the NYPD's Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS or www.nypdcrimestoppers.com


  • Today on Good DayToday on Good DayMore>>

  • Driver-less cars, cameras that see beneath vehicles at NY Auto Show

    Driver-less cars, cameras that see beneath vehicles at NY Auto Show

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 1:23 PM EDT2014-04-16 17:23:39 GMT
    The future is here when it comes to vehicles. The auto industry has packed nearly 1,000 automobiles into the Jacob Javits Center on Manhattan's West Side for the 2014 NY Auto Show.   Among the 'must-sees' is a hydrogen-powered vehicle and a prototype with cameras that allow you to see the ground underneath as you drive over it.
    The future is here when it comes to vehicles. The auto industry has packed nearly 1,000 automobiles into the Jacob Javits Center on Manhattan's West Side for the 2014 NY Auto Show.   Among the 'must-sees' is a hydrogen-powered vehicle and a prototype with cameras that allow you to see the ground underneath as you drive over it.
  • Robert De Niro says Tribeca Film Festival is his passion

    Robert De Niro says Tribeca Film Festival is his passion

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 8:01 AM EDT2014-04-16 12:01:20 GMT
    Robert De Niro is a family man, a filmmaker, an entrepreneur and one of my favorite actors of all time. He's also a co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival, which has more to see than ever before. De Niro wears just as many hats on screen as he does in real life. The father of six starred in six films last year, owns four restaurants and a hotel, and still finds time each spring for the Tribeca Film Festival, Lower Manhattan's annual cinematic showcase.
    Robert De Niro is a family man, a filmmaker, an entrepreneur and one of my favorite actors of all time. He's also a co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival, which has more to see than ever before. De Niro wears just as many hats on screen as he does in real life. The father of six starred in six films last year, owns four restaurants and a hotel, and still finds time each spring for the Tribeca Film Festival, Lower Manhattan's annual cinematic showcase.
  • Allergy season expected to be bad

    Allergy season expected to be bad

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 6:56 AM EDT2014-04-16 10:56:12 GMT
    There is not much relief in sight for allergy sufferers. Experts say a shortened spring due to the long winter may create a more intense allergy season.  Some allergists say they've already seen a noticeable increase in patients as the weather has gotten warmer.
    There is not much relief in sight for allergy sufferers. Experts say a shortened spring due to the long winter may create a more intense allergy season.  Some allergists say they've already seen a noticeable increase in patients as the weather has gotten warmer.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices