The remains of missing autistic teen Avonte Oquendo were found on a Queens beach and confirmed by a DNA test, the medical examiner’s office said Tuesday.
The family’s lawyer, David Perecman, held a press conference about the DNA results, and Avonte’s mom, the heartbroken Vanessa Oquendo, was absent.
“The news I bring is not good news,” he said. “The police visited her earlier today and DNA revealed that the remains they found were those of Avonte Oquendo.
“She told me, ‘It's Avonte. They came ... it's Avonte,’” he said.
“Venessa was crying when I spoke to her.”
Searchers began discovering body parts, including arms, legs, and a lower torso, on the beach by College Point on Thursday. They found a skull Monday.
The cause and manner of death are pending further study, but Avonte, 14, was last seen October 4 leaving the Riverview School in Long Island City.
The family has been hoping that the remains were not his; they notified the city that they intend to file suit because he was not prevented from leaving the school.
“I'm sure she’ll get good and angry,” Perecman said. “I know I'm good and angry. I can't understand 13 students with three teachers and one gets away.”
In the wake of Avonte’s disappearance, authorities frantically searched subway tunnels, as the autistic Avonte was said to be fascinated by trains.
They also made mass announcements in stations informing the public that the missing teen was wearing a gray striped shirt, black jeans and black shoes.
A tip line was set up and a $70,000 reward was offered for information about his whereabouts, with a Facebook page set up to coordinate volunteer efforts.
“This is depressing, very depressing,” said community advocate Tony Herbert, who helped search for Avonte. “Everybody was so hopeful that it wasn't him."
"I guess we all kind of figured it would be. This is not good.”
Herbert said Avonte's mother had been clinging to hope.
“She stood by her word, ‘It isn’t Avonte until its Avonte,’” he said. “Hopefully this will get them some closure. A lot of energy went into making sure he was OK."