Connection to Missing Teen Probed After Body Parts Found in East River in Queens

Authorities reached out to the family of missing Queens teenager Avonte Oquendo after some clothing was also found

Police are combing the East River and Queens shoreline after a human arm, a torso and pair of legs were found just southwest of the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, and the family of a missing teenager has been contacted as part of the investigation.

Authorities reached out to the family of missing Queens teenager Avonte Oquendo after some clothing was also found, family lawyer Daniel Perecman said. 

Sources said the torso and legs were found in a pair of Old Navy jeans and size 5 1/2 Air Jordan sneakers, which is what Avonte was wearing the day he disappeared more than three months ago.

A pair of underwear found with the remains does not match the brand or size Avonte was wearing, sources said.

The remains have been taken to the medical examiner for DNA testing. Perecman said the parts are so decomposed and damaged by water that it's impossible to even identify the skin color.

Oquendo's mother has turned over Avonte's toothbrush and a copy of his baby footprint so investigators could see whether the DNA matches that of the remains, said Perecman. 

The left arm washed ashore near Powell Cove Boulevard and Endeavor Place in College Point and was found by a resident at about 7:30 p.m. Thursday, police said. 

Police then found the other body parts in the rocks in the water nearby.

The location is about 9 miles by waterway from Avonte's school in Long Island City, which is also along the East River and where he was last seen on Oct. 4. (See map below) The flow of the East River, which is actually a tidal strait and not a river, changes direction with the tide.

The disappearance of the autistic and mute teen launched a search that spanned the city and extended even into the suburbs.

Perecman said the child was last seen on surveillance video in a park right along the water. But, he said, the teen is afraid of water and the family doesn't believe he would have voluntarily crossed a shoreline barrier.

"Which is why we thought early on it would have been highly unlikely for him to go over that fence," he said.

Avonte's mother is "not going to be convinced this is her son until there's enough to convince her," Perecman said.

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