NBC 4 New York
The Oquendo family's attorney says a footprint might help determine whether remains found along the Queens side of the East River the past few days are Avonte's. Rob Schmitt reports.
The lawyer for the family of Avonte Oquendo says there's no clear link yet between the human remains found in the East River last week and that of the autistic boy missing since last October, but more remains found over the weekend are being examined as part of the investigation.
A human skull, another arm and some teeth, "presumptively of the same body," were found by police over the weekend, according to attorney David Perecman.
But, Perecman told reporters Monday, "there is no DNA evidence at this point in time" connecting the body parts to Oquendo, who was last seen walking out of his school on Oct. 4.
Last week, a human arm, a torso and pair of legs were found just southwest of the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge. Most of the remains were found on a rocky shore near the College Point Yacht Club, about 11 miles from where Avonte disappeared more than three months ago.
The remains were found in clothes and sneakers similar to those Avonte wore the day he ran from his school in Long Island City and vanished.
The sneakers were tied tightly to the feet, and socks on the feet helped preserve the skin well enough that the medical examiner will be able to take a print off of it, Perecman said.
While Oquendo's mother Vanessa Fontaine has turned over her son's baby footprint to the medical examiner's office, the "M.E. will not be satisfied with a footprint," said Perecman. "They'll want DNA as a match."
Perecman said Avonte's mother remains "unswayed" as the medical examiner investigates.
"When I speak to her, she doesn't want to watch the news, she doesn't want to dig further into it," he said. "She's just letting the days go by until she gets real evidence from the M.E."
Meanwhile, Avonte's grandmother "calls me every day, and you can see there's a small window opening up inside her that's beginning to accept that this potential reality may be what she does not want it to be," said Perecman.
Perecman said he's continuing his investigation into security protocols at Avonte's Long Island City school and wants the school to turn over more surveillance video.
The Board of Education has said it's conducting its own investigation into Avonte's disappearance.