The mother of Avonte Oquendo, an autistic boy missing for three weeks, says her son is out there and criticized the NYPD for suggesting he might not be found alive.
Outside the Queens school where Avonte was last seen on Oct. 4, Vanessa Oquendo said Friday police aren't looking in the right places for the 14-year-old.
On Thursday, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said he wasn’t optimistic Avonte would be found alive.
Kelly said Friday 80 detectives assigned to the case are reviewing 196 pieces of video and following up on more than 450 leads.
The reward for Avonte's safe return is up to nearly $90,000. Police ask anyone with information to call the police TIPS hot line.
The search for Avonte, who is mute, has sparked interest locally even as it has stretched from days to weeks.
NYPD officers joined volunteers in looking for the boy along with a high-profile search firm out of Texas. Members of the city's autistic community have also helped in the search, which has now spread outside New York City's borders.
Most recently, celebrity activist and talk show host the Rev. Al Sharpton contributed $5,000 to Avonte's reward fund and pledged the help of his National Action Network.