No one has reported seeing Avonte Oquendo since he slipped passed a security guard and made his way out of the Riverview School in Long Island City, Queens, N.Y., on Oct. 4, 2013. Since then the 14-year-old, who was obsessed with the subway system, has been the focus of massive searches.
New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials made announcements on trains for weeks asking for assistance finding him, including sending subway workers into tunnels to investigate tips that the teen had been spotted wandering the tracks, the Daily News reports.
The New York Police Department recruited psychics to aid in the search. And officers, relatives and volunteers posted flyers in neighborhoods and examined waterways. The hunt generated dozens of false tips and a reward grew to nearly $90,000, the News says.
New Yorkers were captivated by the case and the teen’s parents, Daniel Oquendo and Vanessa Fontaine, were hopeful.
But all of that fell away this week when a photographer spotted remains along a shoreline in Queens on Thursday afternoon, the News reports. Body parts, clothing and a pair of sneakers almost certainly belong to the missing teen were found, the report says. DNA tests are underway.
“Unfortunately, there is good reason to think it’s him,” the family’s lawyer, David Perecman, warned, according to the News. “It’s more than just speculation.”
Still, the News says that Avonte’s parents “were clinging to dwindling hope that their 14-year-old son was still alive.”
Read more at the Daily News.