Skip navigation

Calls to Action

Avonte Oquendo

NYC Mayor De Blasio Signs Avonte's Law

August 07, 2014

(August 7, 2014) - New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio today signed "Avonte's Law," which requires the city's Department of Education and police to evaluate which school doors should be alarmed to help prevent wandering incidents by students. The law is named for Avonte Oquendo, the Queens teenager with autism who died after wandering from his school last October. The city council passed the bill 49-0 in a vote last month.

WABC's "Up Close" on Autism Awareness in Wake of Avonte Oquendo Case

April 13, 2014

(April 13, 2014) - This morning, WABC-TV New York's  “Up Close” looked at  the importance of autism awareness and support for people with autism and their families in the wake of the disappearance and death of Avonte Oquendo. First, WABC's Bill Ritter spoke with Vanessa Fontaine, Avonte's mother, and her attorney, David Perecman.

Avonte Oquendo's Mother Warned School of his Tendency to Run

March 27, 2014

(March 27, 2014) -- Vanessa Fontaine, the mother of 14-year-old, Avonte Oquendo, had told her son's teacher that Avonte was a 'runner' who might leave the school building. The note letter was never shared with school administrators, according to a report published today. 

This error, along with other oversights, was was described in a 12-page report published by the special commissioner of investigation for the New York City school system.

Joyful Ending to Wandering Case

January 30, 2014

New York (January 30, 2014) - A twelve-year-old boy from Queens is back in the arms of his mother after wandering from home this morning.

It is an example of how successful a quick and united response can be to find missing children with autism.

Brandon Betancourt’s mom was reportedly putting his sibling on the bus around 7 a.m. when he ran from her. She immediately called 911 and a search was launched.

Feds Will Pick Up Cost of Trackers for Children With Autism, NY Senator Says

January 29, 2014

New York (January 29, 2014) - U.S. Senator Charles Schumer on Wednesday announced the federal government is going to pay for voluntary tracking devices for children with autism.

The announcement follows in the wake of the death of Avonte Oquendo, a 14-year-old boy with autism from Queens who bolted from his Long Island City school on October 4, 2013 . Avonte’s body was found in the East River in Queens last week. 

New Video Shows Avonte Oquendo Exiting School's Open Door

January 29, 2014

(January 29, 2014) A report on WNBC-TV showed previously unseen footage from the day Avonte Oquendo disappeared from his school last October. In the video, a door is left open for a period of time, and Avonte exits the school building through the open door. Michael Rosen, executive vice president of strategic communications at Autism Speaks, was interviewed for the story, and emphasized the need for education in efforts to prevent wandering. View the story below.