COLLEGE POINT, Queens (PIX11) - New questions have arisen in the case of missing teen Avonte Oquendo, as more evidence is found that could point to him having died.
The attorney for Oquendo’s family, David Perecman, said at a news conference Monday evening that a skull and teeth have been found at the waterfront location near Endeavor Place in College Point, in addition to a long, grisly list of human remains and clothing items discovered by police since last Thursday night.
Thus far, according to Perecman and police sources, arms, a torso, legs and a jawbone have also been found in addition to the skull and teeth. Also recovered were shoes, jeans and a rugby striped shirt that all match what Oquendo, 14, was wearing when he left undetected from his special needs school in Long Island City, Queens last October 4th.
Perecman also said, over the weekend, that another item of clothing was found, and it’s raising some suspicion. “[The remains had on] Fruit of the Loom large underwear, which makes no sense,” said Perecman. He said that the teen with a severe form of autism always wore a smaller size and brand of underwear than what was found on the remains.
“Who knows what pair of underwear he put on that morning?” asked Tony Herbert. The Brownsville, Brooklyn director of the National Action Network is in close, daily contact with Avonte Oquendo’s father, Danny Oquendo, and in frequent contact with the teen’s mother, Vanessa Fontaine. Regarding the underwear issue, Herbert said, “His mom would know. she’s dressed him.”
The boy’s mother, Ms. Fontaine, is not speaking publicly at this time, and neither is Avonte’s father. Both parents have given DNA samples to the medical examiner, who may be able, as early as Tuesday, to see if the remains are a match.
“Vanessa’s a strong woman,” said Herbert. “I would think they would hope this is not Avonte.” However, he added “with everything, it does look disheartening.”
Perecman also told PIX11 News that it is unusual that remains that so strongly match the description of Avonte would end up some 11 miles northeast of Long Island City, where the special needs student was last seen. His attorney said that he had consulted with experts, who said that the tides along the East River, where the remains were found, tend to move most strongly south, making it difficult for remains to move in the opposite direction, especially that far.
Whether or not that means that Avonte was the victim of foul play remains open to investigation, Perecman told PIX11. He has also said that a thorough autopsy by the medical examiner should yield more firm clues.