Thursday, December 25, 2014

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Family of Missing Queens Teen Awaits DNA Results of Remains Found in College Point

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TWC News: Family of Missing Queens Teen Awaits DNA Results of Remains Found in College Point
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Investigators continue to search for more remains in College Point that sources say police believe belong to missing teen Avonte Oquendo. NY1's Bree Driscoll filed the following report..

On Saturday, police dive teams searched the water while cadaver dogs and investigators comb through the brush along the East River in College Point, searching for more remains.

According to sources, police have recovered about 90 percent of a body, which washed up near College Point on Thursday night.

"They found body parts, clothing, a size 5 1/2 Jordan sneaker, which is what Avonte was wearing," said David Perecman, attorney for the Oquendo family.

Avonte Oquendo, 14, was captured on surveillance video leaving the side door of his Long Island city school back in October.

Since he disappeared, police, family and community members have lead an exhaustive search to find the teen, who has autism. Missing posters and public announcements for Avonte have been seen and heard through out the city.

Family members now wait for official word from the medical examiner's office to see if the remains are those of the missing boy.

"It's not Avonte until the DNA evidence comes in and says it is," Perecman said. "On the other hand, it's not looking great. Maybe it's possible it'll be some sort of closure."

Sources say police don't believe this is a homicide. The teen could have fallen into the water, and then tides may have brought his body to the desolate beach.

"It's got some current to it," said Ron Robb, a College Point resident. "You would think it's very calm, but because of the way the river flows, it picks up current from Manhattan and then everything out to the sound."

"They're a little bit close to the water, and nobody really goes there, except for maybe children that have a little more energy and excitement to go," said Anna Haas, a College Point resident. "It is not illegal to cross this gate, to cross this fence, but I would never do that. It's not safe. It's rocks. There's no path."

The investigation into how the body ended up in the river and eventually here at College Point may take some time, but the lawyer for Avonte's family has been assured that the DNA test results should provide answers by Wednesday.

Meanwhile, concerns are being raised about the events leading up to Avonte's disappearance.

The family's lawyer says they are once again reviewing tapes from inside the Long Island City school where the teen vanished.

He says a school safety agent told investigators she told the teen to go back to class and saw him go up the stairs. But surveillance video shows he walked out of the school instead.

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