Family Pleads for Public's Help in Search for Missing Autistic Boy in NYC

Avonte Oquendo was last seen Friday, leaving Center Boulevard School in Long Island City

By Brynn Gingras
|  Tuesday, Oct 8, 2013  |  Updated 6:25 AM EDT
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A Queens teen who suffers from autism was still missing Sunday evening and his family is desperate to find him. Brynn Gingras reports.

A Queens teen who suffers from autism was still missing Sunday evening and his family is desperate to find him. Brynn Gingras reports.

A 14-year-old Queens autistic boy who is mute has been missing since Friday and his family is pleading with the public for help.

Avonte Oquendo was last seen leaving Center Boulevard School in Long Island City at around 12:45 p.m. Friday. Surveillance video shows him running from the school. 

"Anyone out there, any borough, if you see this child please have compassion and please just call the police and say 'I've seen him,'" said Oquendo's mother, Vanessa Fontaine.

Police have been using loudspeakers to ask residents in various neighborhoods to be on watch for the boy, while Oquendo's family has been handing out posters. A statewide missing child alert was issued for Oquendo on Monday. 

The boy's father says some people have called in tips, but none has panned out.

"We're going on all these leads and nothing has turned up," said Daniel Oquendo. 

"It's tough," he said. "It's tough because we don't know where he's at or if something is happening to him."

Avonte Oquendo, who is 5 foot 3 and 125 pounds, was wearing a gray striped shirt, black jeans and black sneakers.

Anyone with information about Oquendo's whereabouts is asked to call the Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.

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