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Funeral For Avonte Oquendo To Be Held Saturday

Avonte Oquendo had been missing since Oct. 4, 2013. The medical examiner's office confirmed on Jan. 21, 2014 that remains found along the East River are a DNA match. (credit: Handout)

Avonte Oquendo had been missing since Oct. 4, 2013. The medical examiner’s office confirmed on Jan. 21, 2014 that remains found along the East River are a DNA match. (credit: Handout)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Family and friends will gather for a private remembrance of Avonte Oquendo early Saturday morning in Greenwich Village.

The private gathering will be followed by a funeral, which will be open to the public, at the Church of St. Joseph. The funeral will begin at 11 a.m. at 371 Sixth Avenue.

Avonte’s remains will be cremated.

Authorities identified Avonte’s body this week after pieces of it washed up in Queens.

The search for Avonte gripped the city after he ran out of his Long Island City school on Oct. 4. The 14 year old had a severe form of autism and was unable to communicate verbally.

Missing person posters were plastered on lampposts, in subway stations and placed on car windshields throughout the city.

Avonte’s family has filed a notice of claim saying they planned to sue the city, arguing that school officials allowed him to walk out of the building and waited too long to notify police that he was missing. City authorities had defended the school safety officer who last saw the boy, saying she told him to go back to his classroom and he left the hallway.

“I am convinced in my heart of hearts had some of this cascade of errors not occurred that the police would have been called, they would have went outside and they would have found Avonte and he’d be home right now. And he’d be wearing his Air Jordans and they wouldn’t have been found in a river,” attorney David Perecman said Tuesday afternoon. “There were so many things that went wrong. It befuddles the mind.”

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