There might be some terrible news in the case of Avonte Oquendo, the 14-year-old autistic boy who has been missing for over three months. The boy, who is non-verbal, had been last seen on October 4, walking past his school's security guard in Long Island City, New York, and out of the school and into the massive urban sprawl of New York. Posters of his face appeared everywhere, in every borough. But still the boy went unfound. Now some potentially very grim news: Arms and legs were found near the shore in Queens. And cops have reason to believe they might belong to the teen.
A passerby called police after seeing what looked like limbs on the shore on Thursday.
While it's not known yet if it definitely is him, the signs don't look good. Tony Herbert, a community activist who keeps in touch with Avonte's family, told the New York Daily Mail: "It's looking really grim that it may be him." And a police car has been stationed at Avonte's family's home.
The feet were reportedly wearing size 5 1/2 Air Jordan sneakers, which were what Avonte was wearing. Jeans and underwear that were found near the body parts were also the size that Avonte wore.
Where the limbs were found in Queens is 11 miles from Avonte's school, so even though autistic children are attracted to water, it seems rather unlikely he could have walked all of that way to the water -- especially since his school was already near water.
Poor Avonte's mom has already seen Thanksgiving and Christmas go by without her son. Then she must have been so worried during the polar vortex that gripped the East Coast, wondering if her boy was out there freezing. Avonte's mom, Vanessa, is said to be skeptical that this is her son.
I can't imagine a more terrifying scenario than your non-verbal autistic son being lost somewhere in this huge sprawling city. There are many good people out there. But all it would have taken is one bad person.
The question now besides whether this is Avonte is if he came into foul play or whether he may have drowned and the body parts are decomposition.
Right now, however, we don't know. On the one hand, Avonte's mom must want some closure. On the other, no one wants to find out terrible news like this.
Update: Avonte's parents are now nervously awaiting DNA results of the body parts found on a Queens shoreline. Clothes and a shoe matching what Avonte wore when he went missing match those found near and on the body parts. Police say the body appears to have split apart due to decomposition and not violence. There is some speculation that Avonte disappeared into a wooded area and then fell down a steep embankment into the water. But we won't know for sure what happened, or even if it's home, until DNA is analyzed and the investigation continues. His parents, Daniel and Vanessa, remain hopeful it is not their son.
Do you think this might be him?