Police find head and second arm that could belong to Avonte Oquendo

Police find head and second arm that could belong to Avonte Oquendo
By Alex Robinson

After a weekend of searching the College Point shoreline, police said they found the head, a second arm and most of the body of what could be Avonte Oquendo, a 14-year-old boy with severe autism who disappeared from his Long Island City school in October.

A teenager alerted police to the remains Thursday evening after she found an arm when she was taking photographs on the waterfront, police said.

Police also discovered two legs when they arrived in the area near Powell’s Cove Boulevard and Endeavor Place. David Perecman, the lawyer who represents Avonte’s family, said police found 5 1/2 size sneakers and size 16 jeans, which he said appeared to match what Avonte was wearing when he vanished from the Riverview School in Long Island City Oct. 4.

Avonte’s mother, Vanessa Fontaine, was still holding out hope that DNA test results would reveal the remains were not those of her son, Perecman said.

“This morning when I spoke to her, she just said ‘it’s not Avonte until it’s Avonte,’” he told reporters at the College Point site Friday. “She doesn’t seem to me to have ever lost hope.”

Fontaine went to the city’s medical examiner’s office Friday to supply a DNA sample as well as Avonte’s toothbrush, said Perecman who expects the family will receive results by Wednesday. The city medical examiner’s office already had a DNA sample on file for Avonte’s father, Daniel Oquendo, the family’s lawyer said.

Avonte’s mother launched a major campaign to search for her missing son when he disappeared and thousands of volunteers joined her, plastering the boy’s picture all over the city.

Police said they were still combing the coast in College Point Monday afternoon for any further evidence or remains.

Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at arobinson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.