Missing Autistic Teen Avonte Oquendo's Remains Positively Identified

The long, heartbreaking search for 14-year-old autistic boy Avonte Oquendo has come to a tragic conclusion. DNA testing has reportedly confirmed that a body washed up on a Queens, New York City shoreline belongs to that of the teenager, who had been missing since he walked out of his school. The body was found in pieces, with the legs still wearing jeans and sneakers that belonged to Avonte. But the family fears that he didn't just fall into the East River -- the theory police are working with -- but that he ran across foul play. And they have their reasons for being suspicious.

Earlier reports said that jeans and underwear the size that Avonte wore were found on the legs -- no one yet knows if the body was in parts due to foul play or decomposition in the water. However, now the family is saying that the size and brand of the underwear found on the body did not match Avonte's.

The family's lawyer, David Perecman, said that the large sized Fruit of the Loom underwear found on the body did not match the size Avonte wore, nor the brand. The family says he only wore Hanes. Perecman told the New York Post:

If it is him, what that indicates to me is that something happened. Someone got a hold of him, moved him. I can’t say they harmed him, but why would the underwear have gotten changed?

Why would he have different underwear on? Could he have been at someone's house for awhile and changed underwear? Or could it be a case of the family merely forgetting a pair of large Hanes underwear?

More From The Stir: UPDATED: Missing Autistic Boy Avonte Oquendo's Body May Have Been Found

Considering that Avonte was a non-verbal autistic boy, it's just heartbreaking to think of him in trouble and not able to defend himself.

If this theory turns out to be true, it goes against the cops' working theory thus far: That Avonte may have been running from a dog after escaping his school and fell down a steep embankment into the East River.

All around just heartbreaking.

Do you have any words for the family?


Image via National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

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nonmember avatar mel

I believe the family if they say they only got hanes. If he is as special needs as he sounded they probably took care of all those aspects . I guess we'll see . My love goes out to his family and I hope he died a quick way and not what they think could have happened

LeeshaE LeeshaE

I believe the family but also think given that he is special needs it is in the realm of possibilities that at some point possibly at school he could have been given a clean pair of undies not his usual brand. It happened to my son when was first grade and had a minor accident.

miafa... miafamila

There are no words to express how sorry i am for your loss. I know nothing anyone can say could make you feel better. Just know your boy will be in our hearts and prayers. And people out here do care.

dfcin... dfcinnamon

I was hoping and praying that they would find him alive.  At least they found him and now they can have closure.  I am sad that you did not get to give him one last hug, kiss, and hold him for a while.

nonmember avatar Rose

I am so very sorry

kiser79 kiser79

maybe some nice person found him needing help, noticed he had an accident since he probably wasn't able to ask for a bathroom at a restaurant or store. the good samaratian offered a clean pair of underwear. or he possibly stole them to change into himself after his got dirty.

nonmember avatar LISA

Why in the hell is a child with needs so special that he is NONVERBAL allowed to walk into the streets of NYC alone .. even if to just go home ... in the first place?!!! What did I miss??!


So sad. I feel terrible for his family.

nonmember avatar Itsrayneing

God some of you people are really ignorant! He was a mute 14 year old handicapped kid. He didn't steal anyone's underwear. It was the wrong brand AND size. You know what underwear you put on your kid every morning! He walked out of his school by the way his parents weren't neglecting him like some of you assholes assume! Somebody did something to this poor kid and instead of saying what a tragedy it is, some of you make ignorant ass assumptions/comments.

Krista Kelley McAtee

As the mother of a son, also non-verbal with Autism, this story is gut wrenching. My son is 6 and already we have to lock every window and door (within fire safety regulations) to ensure his safety as he's very quiet and prone to wandering. I just had a discussion with his school about this as it's escalated in the last week. My heart goes out to Avonte's family. My hope is that healing is able to take place and if there is any foul play involved that justice is served quickly. Take care!

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