The family of Avonte Oquendo, the 14-year-old New York City boy who has been missing for two weeks, is asking for community assistance in finding the teenager and will be leading a search through Central Park on Saturday.
The teenager, who has autism, walked out of his school in Queens and has not been seen since the beginning of the month. The search for him has been a focal point of police activity in New York and the metropolitan area.
Also, the family will be appealing to the broader community to assist in the search by attending community events. On Saturday, for example, family members will attend the weekly meeting of the National Action Network, the organization led by the Rev. Al Sharpton.
Police officials said that there is a reward of about $75,000 for the teenager, who was last seen on a surveillance video running out of a school in the New York City borough of Queens on Oct. 4.
“We’re trying to get as many people as we can in order to get as much awareness and assistance as we can,” said Daniel Oquendo, Avonte’s father, in an interview with BET.com. “We want to ask people to look everywhere, to look around their blocks in their neighborhoods. Anything would help.”
Oquendo also said that the last few weeks have been difficult for his family but that the public response has been comforting.
“It’s been very hard on all of us,” he said. “But with all the love we’re getting, it’s making it much easier. Everybody’s love is really helping us. And we appreciate it.”
Each of New York City’s 468 subway stations has been searched, police officials said. Additionally, aviation, harbor and canine officers have been mobilized and deployed for the search.
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(Photo: AP Photo/National Center for Missing & Exploited Children)