Dad of missing Avonte Oquendo still hopeful; generous RV owner gives family relief

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QUEENS (PIX11) – Daniel Oquendo Sr. is managing to stay hopeful in the face of the unknown.

It’s been two long weeks since his 14-year-old son Avonte ran off from his school in Long Island City, and the boy with autism hasn’t been seen since.

“It’s like a recurring nightmare,” said Oquendo Sr.  “Everyday you’ve got to tighten your pants, strap up your boots and say let’s get going.  We’re definitely feeling positive that we’re moving in the right direction.  So let’s see what happens.”

When the exhausted dad needs to take a break from his round-the-clock efforts to find his son, he heads straight to Rick Stripp’s RV.

“He comes in here to rest, sleep, charge up his cell phone, heat up the coffee in the microwave,” said Stripp of Stanhope, New Jersey.

Stripp, who tutors and takes care of children with autism, opened the doors of his mobile home to the entire Oquendo family.

“One of the things people said to me was ‘how could you go out there and just give your RV to strangers’ and my reply was they’re not strangers anymore.”