Missing Autistic Boy Avonte Oquendo's Parents Hear Worst News Since Son Disappeared

Heartbreaking 116

missing autistic boy avonte oquendoWe're nearing the three-week mark since the search for Avonte Oquendo began. Now the parents of the missing autistic boy are facing their most shocking news since their son went missing. Police are talking about scaling back the search for Avonte.

According to the NYPD Commissioner, Ray Kelly, there have been no "credible" sightings of the missing 14-year-old since he was last seen on a surveillance video walking out of his school in Queens on October 4. With nothing to go on, how can the police continue to put men on his case? How many more helicopters can they send out? How many more divers?

For one boy?

I'm not without sympathy for the plight of this family. Avonte is just a kid and one with special needs at that. His form of autism includes mutism, so this 14-year-old is not going to just walk up to someone on the street and say, "Hey, my name is Avonte Oquendo, and I need to get back home, can you help me?"

This child likely can't help himself -- even if he's in a position to do so. His life depends on being found, being taken care of, and even a scaled back search is bad news for his parents.

The mom in me says the search must go on and on until this child is rescued.

But this is a question for every family in this sort of situation: how long can they expect the police to go on searching? Two weeks? Two months? Two years? How long can one family's tragedy continue to draw resources?

The police are, after all, not private entities that any one family can command. They are public, and as such they need to serve many families. In New York City, there are millions of people being served by the NYPD. These are parents and kids just like Avonte.

For nearly three weeks now, the NYPD has devoted helicopters, divers, and more than 100 cops each and every day to find one boy. Kelly says they won't suddenly stop the search, but scaling it back is -- sadly -- what happens in these cases. 

As public servants, the police have to serve all of the public, not just one family in need.

But that does not mean that search for Avonte or for any child in his situation should just end when the police can't do it anymore. This is where volunteers come in, where we the people can make all the difference. As Avonte's dad said in a plea to the public this week:

We just want to request that everybody take five minutes just to look. If we pay a little more attention to each other, we may be able to see things.

As the saying goes, if you see something, say something ... you may be able to bring a boy home to his family.

How long do you think should police devote resources to a missing persons case?


Image via National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

missing person, autism


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alija... alijahsmom52206

they need to keep looking for this boy don't give up there are cases that never get closed but they still look call the feds and get them involved i have a 7 year old autistic son i can just imagine how this family feels when my son runs from me my heart drop's i could not imagine not finding him i am so sorry this is happening to u im sorry

Movie... Moviebuff

They put in a good effort but they can't just think of him they also have to think of others.

Ihave... Ihavecrazyboys

this question should never even be asked.....keep looking don't ever ever give up.

mom of 11 year old aspergers son

Movie... Moviebuff

They have to he able to help others.

nonmember avatar andrea mantecon

Please don't give up. Keep searching for him. if he is still on the street he must be hungry and thirsty someone must have seen something unless he's locked in or fell in a hole did they use infrared in the helicopters please keep looking this story is devastating and hits too close to home for me that school needs to be held accountable for their negligence

Maryam Cerqueira

As A Mother Of Autism Son My Heart Bleeds For The Child And The Parents.I Know By Exprience How Does One Autistic PPerson React When Is Not In His Invoirment . IIt Is Very Strange That He Was Not Been Noticed By Any Body,,,In This Case I Would Not Stop The Search. I Know He Is Alive And Has Been Kept Thats What I Feel .Police has To Look For The Person That The Boy Know.Pray For His Releae <3

Steph Lamer

they need to keep looking. as far as i am concerned 3 weeks is not long enough. i am sorry, but i have a 6 year old autistic daughter and that aside, this is a child that needs help. this is the police departments job. if it was one of their children the search would go on. this whole thing is super sad, and this boy must be scared to death. i am deeply sorry for the family. the police need to keep looking.

Movie... Moviebuff

I hate to be that person but they know it's a lost cause.

ms_da... ms_danielle_j

my heart breaks for this beautiful child's parents and loved ones. It's a tragedy when any child goes missing but it's especially hard when a child that cannot speak up and or defend themselves goes missing. This story brings tears to my eyes. sad

nonmember avatar S.Smith

You should be happy moviebuff didn't you say he was one of Gods mistakes when this story was first ran/?

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