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Photo by Robert Stridiron
Photo by Robert Stridiron
Friday morning police were still searching the shoreline of College Point where human remains that could possibly belong to missing autistic teen Avonte Oquendo were found Thursday night.

Updated Saturday, Jan. 18, 10:10 a.m.

BY TERENCE CULLEN, ANGY ALTAMIRANO AND MAGGIE HAYES

Divers continue to comb through the East River after human remains washed ashore in College Point, potentially belonging to missing child Avonte Oquendo.

If DNA tests link the parts to Avonte, the family wants the city to pay up. Attorney David Perecman will file suit on Monday, seeking $25 million in a civil suit focused against the Department of Education and school safety.

A passerby found what police believe to be an arm and legs Thursday night near Powell Cove Boulevard and Endeavor Place about 7:15 p.m.

After searching the area, police discovered jaw, shoulder, collar and pelvic bones, ribs and several vertebrae.

A pair of size 16 jeans and size 5 ½ Air Jordan sneakers were found with the remains, matching those belonging to Avonte, said David Perecman, the family’s lawyer. The skin color, however, is unidentifiable.

A white shirt with gray stripes that is similar to what Avonte was wearing when he went missing was also discovered with the remains, according to police.

“It’s a huge amount of evidence,” Perecman said. “The evidence is the DNA.”

It will take “days” to determine if the body is Avonte, cops said.

“It’s been in the water long enough that you can’t tell the skin color. It’s been in the water long enough that it’s not an intact body,” Perecman said.

But Avonte’s mother, Vanessa Fontaine, continues to hold out hope.

Fontaine said her 14-year-old autistic son is afraid of the water and thought he “wouldn’t go near it.”

Perecman said Fontaine is “a stoic individual,” but “inside I think she’s twisted. The guilt that runs through her must be monumental.”

Avonte, 14, was last seen on October 4 at the Center Boulevard School at 1-50 51st Ave. in Long Island City. The school is just across from the East River. The Rego Park teen cannot verbally communicate.

There have been conflicting reports on how Avonte, who is supposed to be supervised at all times, managed to leave the school.

Since he went missing, the reward to find him has increased to $95,000.

With additional reporting by Cristabelle Tumola and Sal Licata

 

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