NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police have released new photos of a missing autistic teenager and updated his last known whereabouts.
Authorities now say 14-year-old Eliceo Cortez was last seen at the Sheepshead Bay Q-line train station around 2:38 p.m. Friday. Police had previously said he was last seen at 105 Oriental Blvd. around 2 p.m.
The NYPD is asking for the public’s help in locating the teen. He is described as 6 feet, 1 inch tall, 135 pounds with brown eyes and black close-cut hair. He also has a long scar down his back.
Cortez was last seen wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans and black Converse high-top sneakers, police said.
His mother Nancy Reavis told CBS 2’s Don Champion that her son’s autism makes her even more concerned.
“He’s speech delayed. It’s gonna be hard for you to understand him because he’s gonna get nervous and you’re not going to understand what he’s saying,” she explained.
Family members also said that his condition may make him vulnerable to following crowds and people.
Reavis said that her son went to the train station after leaving Leon Goldstein high. She is angry and said that she has fought with school officials about getting her son a ‘para’ or bus helper to make sure that he makes it home safely.
“I spoke to his counselor and they said ‘yes, we’re gonna do something, we’re gonna do something,'” she said, “This is what has to happen so they can help me?”
Department of Education officials would not confirm the allegations but said that the department was ‘deeply concerned’ about the teen’s well-being.
Reavis and her family spent Sunday evening walking the streets of Manhattan Beach.
“I said I’m gonna go look for myself and see if he’ll see me,” she said.
Flyers with the missing teen’s picture have been posted across Brooklyn.
Anyone with information about Cortez’s whereabouts is urged to contact the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers hotline at 800-577-TIPS. The public can also submit tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or by texting tips to 274637 (CRIMES) and entering TIP577.
The incident evokes the case of Avonte Oquendo, the 14-year-old autistic boy who ran out of his Queens school in October and whose remains were found three months later along the shoreline in Queens.
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., discussed Cortez’s case during an unrelated news conference Sunday. Schumer has been pushing for legislation that would fund voluntary tracking devices for children who have autism.
“He is autistic, and it’s heart-wrenching,” Schumer said. “It reminds us of what happened a few months ago with Avonte.
The senator said he was confident would pass his legislation sooner than later.
“Sometimes, we get gridlocked on the biggest issues, but on these lesser issues that are humanitarian and make sense, we’re able to get something done,” Schumer said.
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