Human remains found Thursday were confirmed Tuesday as belonging to missing autistic teenager Avonte Oquendo, whose months-long disappearance sparked massive searches in New York City.
DNA tests confirmed Tuesday that the remains, including an arm, torso and two legs, were that of the 14-year-old Avonte. The teen, who was nonverbal, went missing from his school in the Long Island City section of Queens in early October.
The remains were found along shoreline in College Point, Queens. An arm was discovered Thursday night by a teen, whose mother contacted police. A torso with two legs attached was subsequently found.
At the time of the discovery, Oquendo family attorney David Perecman said there were strong indications that the remains belonged to Avonte.
"It's more than just speculation; unfortunately there is good reasons to think it's him," Perecman said, according to the New York Daily News, adding that the teen’s family was “distraught, but they’re hoping it’s not him. They remain optimistic that he’s still out there.”
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NBC News reported that Avonte’s family has been notified that the DNA tests confirmed that the remains belonged to him.
The 14-year-old’s disappearance sparked massive searches of subways and train tunnels because the autistic teen had a fascination with trains. The search also involved police blaring the voice of Avonte’s mother, Vanessa Fontaine, from their vehicles in hopes that he would run toward authorities.