Human Remains Found in NY River Belong to Avonte Oquendo

The cause of the 14-year-old's death has not yet been determined.

Posted: 01/22/2014 08:57 AM EST

The family of Avonte Oquendo is mourning the loss of the missing autistic 14-year-old, whose human remains were found in the East River in Queens, New York, Thursday.

Officials confirmed the body parts belonged to the boy on Tuesday. This is a sad ending to a more than three-month search for Avonte, who walked out of his high school on Oct. 4. 

The clothing and body parts discovered on Jan. 16. were matched to Avonte's DNA, given to investigators by his family. The cause of his death is still being determined, the medical examiner said.

David Perecman, the family’s lawyer, said Avonte’s mother “finally broke down” during a phone call, according to ABC 7 news. He said that the family plans to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the city alleging that school personnel failed to monitor Avonte and did not act urgently in contacting police after he walked out.

“I am convinced in my heart of hearts had some of this cascade of errors not occurred that the police would have been called, they would have went outside and they would have found Avonte and he’d be home right now. And he’d be wearing his Air Jordans and they wouldn’t have been found in a river,” Perecman said Tuesday afternoon, according to CBS News.

“There were so many things that went wrong. It befuddles the mind,” he continued.

Last week, the NYPD contacted Avonte's family about a human arm and leg and pair of sneakers that were found on a rock in the river Thursday evening. A 14-year-old girl called 911 after she came across them.

For the past several weeks, the police led a huge effort in the search for Avonte, placing countless missing person signs in subway stations throughout the five boroughs. Reward money reached $70,000 for information about his whereabouts.


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(Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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