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.
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.
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