News

Police Handing Out Fliers In Search For Missing Autistic Boy In Long Island City

DOE Investigating Incident, Won't Say If Anyone's Been Disciplined

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The search effort continues for an autistic boy missing since Friday afternoon.

As WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported, police marshaled a small army of school safety agents to hand out fliers with Avonte Oquendo’s picture near the school on Center Boulevard in Long Island City along the East River.

Fliers are posted at every corner near the school, but the search effort went beyond the immediate area.

As CBS 2’s Emily Smith reported, detectives were combing a train yard near Queens Plaza on Monday afternoon looking for the boy.

Oquendo’s family said the 14-year-old cannot feed himself or communicate with words so he won’t be able to tell anyone who he is or where he lives.

Oquendo was last seen at 12:38 p.m. on Friday leaving the Center Boulevard School on 51st Avenue in Long Island City.

Avonte Oquendo, 14, was last seen leaving school on Friday, October 4. (Credit NYPD)

Avonte Oquendo, 14, was last seen leaving school on Friday, October 4. (credit: NYPD)

He is supposed to be supervised constantly at school, but surveillance video at the school shows him running down a hallway and then out onto the street.

No aid or guard is seen on the video.

Many in the school community want to know how the child could be allowed to walk out the door.

“I was so happy for my son to come to this school in a beautiful neighborhood, and I don’t believe this is happening. It could happen to anybody. Sad,” parent Michael Cruz told Smith.

“It’s scary to know as a parent, how could you let a kid leave school like that,” parent Barbara Chandler said. “Where does that leave school safety?”

The Department of Education would not say if anyone’s been disciplined as a result of the incident, only saying it’s an active investigation, Silverman reported.

Oquendo is black, stands 5 feet, 3 inches tall and weighs 120 pounds, according to police.

He was last seen wearing a gray striped shirt, black jeans and black sneakers.

Police said Oquendo has no history of running away.

Anyone with information was asked to contact the NYPD Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS, log onto the Crime Stoppers website, or text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) and enter TIP577.

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