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Avonte Oquendo was not boy on subway, NYPD says

A poster in a subway station in Brooklyn

A poster in a subway station in Brooklyn asks for help in finding Avonte Oquendo, an autistic teen who went missing in Queens in October. (Oct. 21, 2013) Credit: AP

The boy seen on a subway train is not missing autistic teen Avonte Oquendo, the NYPD said Thursday.

In fact, police said they have identified the boy in the photo taken by another teen Tuesday evening on a Brooklyn-bound F train -- and he lives in an area of Brooklyn served by the 71st Precinct.

The 14-year-old Oquendo, missing since he was last seen on video surveillance leaving the Center Boulevard School in Long Island City on Oct. 4, is from Rego Park, Queens.

"It's definitely not him," an NYPD spokeswoman said Thursday.

When asked whether police had identified the boy in the subway photo, the spokeswoman said: "He's been positively identified. He's not Avonte."

The photo of the boy, seated on the F train near West Fourth Street in lower Manhattan, made news Wednesday -- sparking hopes that the missing Queens teen might soon be found. Daniel Oquendo, father of the missing teen, said the rider had the "closest" resemblance to his son out of all the images presented to him since the boy went missing.

The boy in the photo wore a short tan coat that appeared oversized, and his face, shown in profile, was partly obstructed by metal bars at the end of the seat. Police learned of the photo through tips, but did not say what led to the identification of the boy in the picture.

After seeing that picture, Daniel Oquendo said Wednesday night: "He looks tired . . . It sort of injects some hope in the whole situation."

Oquendo's parents have expressed hope their son will be found safe and alive, though NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly has said he wasn't hopeful that would be the case.

Police said the investigation is continuing and asked anyone with information to call the NYPD Crime Stoppers hotline at 800-577-TIPS.

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