News

Kelly: NYPD Still Devoting Resources In Search For Missing Autistic Boy From Queens

Avonte Oquendo, 14, Missing Since Oct. 4
Missing person flyer for Avonte Oquendo is seen at the Times Square subway station on Monday, Oct. 14, 2013 (credit: CBSNewYork)

Missing person flyer for Avonte Oquendo is seen at the Times Square subway station on Monday, Oct. 14, 2013 (credit: CBSNewYork)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the NYPD is still devoting resources in the search for an autistic boy from Queens who has been missing for a month.

Police and volunteers are still scouring the city for 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo. The teen, who cannot communicate verbally, was last seen on surveillance video leaving the Center Boulevard School in Long Island City on Oct. 4.

“The last clear video we have is him leaving the school by the side door, walking north, crossing the street and going into a park,” Kelly said Friday.

So far, police have received nearly 600 tips in the case, but Kelly said all but nine of those tips have been closed out.

Avonte Oquendo (credit: Handout)

Avonte Oquendo (credit: Handout)

Meanwhile, some parents and advocates are questioning whether the city’s sprawling public school system is equipped to handle high-needs students like the missing boy.

Lisa Quinones-Fontanez is the mother of a 7-year-old autistic boy. She says Avonte’s situation has really hit home because “it could be any of our kids.”

Avonte’s family has initiated legal action against the city over his disappearance.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott says he has ordered his staff to examine the procedures that are in place to prevent something like this from ever happening again.

Avonte is 5-foot-3 and weighs 125 pounds. Anyone with information is asked to contact NYPD Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, visit the Crime Stoppers website or text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) and enter TIP577.

The reward for his safe return is up to $95,000.

Check Out These Other Stories From CBSNewYork.com:

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)