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?

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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