Avonte Oquendo family will delay lawsuit until remains are confirmed, says lawyer

Family, friends and the NYPD have been searching

Family, friends and the NYPD have been searching for autistic teen Avonte Oquendo. Avonte had not been seen since Oct. 4, when he left the Center Boulevard School on 51st Avenue in the Long Island City section of Queens.

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An attorney for the family of a missing autistic teenager said Sunday he will probably delay suing New York City until authorities confirm whether remains found in the water near College Point, Queens, are those of the Rego Park 14-year-old.

Attorney David Perecman was set to file the negligence suit Monday in State Supreme Court in Queens, but said he will probably wait until midweek, when he expects the medical examiner's office will have identified the remains.

"First of all, I think the timing . . . may be a little uncomfortable, inappropriate," Perecman said, "And second of all, the nature of the suit may change by Wednesday, depending on the outcome."

Perecman is representing the family of Avonte Oquendo, who was last seen Oct. 4 before leaving his Long Island City school. The family has said a breakdown in security protocol at the school contributed to Avonte's disappearance.

He said Avonte's parents were faring "as well as can be expected," while bracing for the possibility that the remains are their son's.

Authorities, including police dive teams searching the water in College Point, have recovered two arms, two legs, underwear, at least one sock and sneaker, jeans, a shirt, part of a pelvis, a rib and a cheekbone, Perecman said.

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Julie Bolcer, spokeswoman for the medical examiner, said she could not detail what authorities had found or when test results are expected.

In cases such as this, an autopsy, DNA analysis and anthropological consultation are typically conducted, she said.

Avonte's mother, Vanessa Fontaine, has given investigators a sample of her DNA.

An NYPD spokeswoman said the investigation is ongoing. The first of the remains were discovered late Thursday by a 14-year-old girl trying to take photos near the water.

Avonte had not been seen since October, but countless volunteers fanned out in search of him and papered the city and the transit system with fliers bearing his photo. The MTA for weeks broadcast announcements on and near trains calling for passengers to be on the lookout for Avonte.


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