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Avonte Oquendo’s mom suing city to release investigation records

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Vanessa Fontaine, Avonte’s mother, has filed a lawsuit against the city requesting the release of documents in her son’s disappearance.

NEW YORK (PIX11) — The mother of Avonte Oquendo is suing the city to release investigation records in her son’s disappearance from his Long Island City school.

Vanessa Fontaine filed the suit in Manhattan Supreme Court Wednesday, demanding the NYPD release of internal documents into how Avonte was able to run out of his school and seemingly vanish without a trace.

Avonte was last seen on surveillance video running from the school through an unlocked door last October. The initial investigation found the school waited 45 to an hour after Avonte vanished before contacting his mother or the police.

Body parts, identified as Avonte’s, were found washed up in College Point last week, 11 miles from where he was last seen.

Fontaine’s original Freedom of Information request was denied, with the Department of Education saying the release would interfere with the investigation and could potentially be an “invasion of privacy” and “endanger the life or safety” of a person.

“All that is sought is information about how Avonte came to be outside of his school unattended. Such information does not give rise to any legitimate concern about the privacy of Avonte,” family attorney David Perecman said.

Perecman told PIX11 Tuesday he believes there is more surveillance video highlighting the school’s negligence that have not been released.
A larger civil lawsuit against the city is expected to be filed in Avonte’s death.
In response to the suit, a city Law Department spokesperson told PIX11, “This involves a terrible tragedy, and the City’s thoughts are with Avonte’s family. We will review the legal case thoroughly once received.”


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