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Nancy Grace

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Missing NYC autistic teen's remains ID'd

  • New York City Medical examiner’s office confirmed Tuesday that remains found last week belong to a missing autistic teen
  • Avonte Oquendo, 14, ran away from his school on October 4
  • The medical examiner’s office says the cause and manner of death are pending
Missing NYC autistic teen's remains ID'd

14-year-old autistic boy walks out of school, vanishes

14-year-old autistic boy walks out of school, vanishes

DNA has confirmed human remains found next to the East River in Queens on Thursday night are those of a teenager reported missing more than three months ago, the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner’s told HLN Tuesday. 

HLN affiliate WABC reports officials say Avonte Oquendo’s mother was notified early Tuesday afternoon.

The medical examiner’s office says the cause and manner of death are pending.

A photography student discovered a decomposed arm last Thursday near Powell Cove Boulevard and Endeavor Place in College Point and contacted authorities.

Police divers later discovered a torso, legs, another arm and teeth, along with sneakers and jeans that matched the size and description of the clothing Oquendo was wearing when he disappeared.

Authorities also found a human skull, according to the Oquendo family's attorney David Perecman, who spoke Monday at a press conference.

Oquendo, an autistic 14-year-old who could not communicate verbally, was last seen alive on surveillance video running from his Long Island City school on October 4.

Extensive searches by police, family members and volunteers of the surrounding area, the subway system and parts of New Jersey failed to turn up any sign of him.

According to Perecman, police had DNA samples from Oquendo’s father and mother to assist with the identification process.

Perecman is expected to hold a press conference at 2:00 p.m. ET Tuesday with further details. 

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