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I’m NOT Avonte Oquendo: Boy in striking subway photo comes forward

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NEW YORK (PIX11) – The photo created a firestorm on Facebook after a straphanger snapped a shot of a boy he believed was missing Queens resident Avonte Oquendo.

The picture, taken on an E or an F line, bore such a resemblance to Oquendo, even his own father admitted it looked like him.  According to Tony Herbert, who represents the Brooklyn East chapter of the National Action Network, the cell phone photographer even asked the boy “Hey, are you Avonte?” and didn’t get any answer — which would have made sense as Oquendo has autism and is non-verbal.

On Thursday, however, police say the boy in the photo identified himself to officers as the subway rider in the picture.  Police told PIX11 that they are continuing to investigate all leads, and Oquendo’s family and other volunteers hope the many surveillance cameras in Long Island City, where Oquendo disappeared, may provide more clues to the teens disappearance.

Oquendo walked out of his school at 12:38 p.m. on Friday, October 4th and has not been seen since, despite multiple sightings that turned out to be unfounded.