The search for Avonte Oquendo, a 14-year-old boy with autism from Queens, N.Y., who has been missing since October 4th, continues. Avonte, who is nonverbal, was last seen on video surveillance running out the door of his school in Long Island City.
The reward for Avonte's safe return is now nearly $90,000, most of which is being offered through Autism Speaks. On Sunday, his family, members of the autism community and other volunteers gathered to form to teams to continue the search.
How you can help
A Facebook page called Bring Avonte Home is sharing information and coordinating volunteer search efforts. Right now search organizers need warm coats for family members and other searchers as the nights get colder, and food for the searchers. If you would like to donate to raise the award for the safe return of Avonte, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Friday, the New York Police Department released a new photo showing the shirt Avonte was wearing on the day he went missing. The last few days, police have tried a new tactic in the search, playing a recording of Avonte's mother's voice out of emergency vehicles in the hopes that Avonte will hear it.
Autism Speaks Board Member Holly Robinson Peete visited Avonte's family at the search headquarters in Long Island City on Wednesday.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the New York Police Department’s Crime Stoppers hot line at (800) 577-TIPS.
Wandering by children with autism is common, dangerous and puts tremendous stress on families. Autism Speaks wants to remind families of the resources available and the advice to follow to keep your children safe. See 7 Steps You Can Take to Prevent Wandering at Your Child’s School and find more wandering resources here.