The New York City Police Commissioner said that he fears that Avonte Oquendo, the teenager with autism who has been missing for weeks, may be dead.
“Unfortunately, we are not hopeful that we’re going to find this young man alive, but we are continuing our search,” said Raymond Kelly, the commissioner, speaking on a local news broadcast in Thursday.
Still, Kelly urged the public to continue to look for him and encouraged people in the New York City area to continue providing tips regarding the case.
Oquendo, a 14-year-old student, walked out of his school in Queens and has not been seen since the beginning of October. The search for him has been a focal point of police activity in New York and the metropolitan area.
Police officials said that there is a reward of about $90,000 for the teenager.
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.
David Perecman, the Oquendo family's attorney, said that there had been no new information since the teenager vanished. He also said that the family was critical of what they considered a lack of needed safety measures at the school, such as surveillance equipment and alarmed panic doors.
“The school was on notice that he had a tendency to run away,” Perecman said, in an interview with BET.com. “He walked off and went down the hallway and left from a side door. It makes no sense that a special needs student would be able to run off toward an exit door. Something should have been done.”
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(AP Photo/National Center for Missing & Exploited Children)