Long Island City, QUEENS (PIX11)– Added to the mix of NYPD helicopters and boats, and volunteers distributing flyers, is the comfort of a mother’s voice.
Nearly two weeks into the all-out effort to find Avonte Oquendo, who is autistic and cannot communicate, his mother is calling out to him in a recording.
Vanessa Fontaine says hello to her 14-year-old son and directs him to the flashing lights.
“It’s mom Avonte. Hi Avonte. Come to the flashing lights,” Fontaine said in the recording.
A Citywide Disaster Services of New York van has been playing the messages while riding around different neighborhoods, with the hope that Avonte will hear it and emerge.
“It’s a good tactic. I thought at first it was kind of creepy,” said Daniel Oquendo Sr., the missing boy’s father. “But if he’s hiding, it will definitely pull him out from wherever he’s at.”
Avonte hasn’t been seen since Oct. 4, when a surveillance video shows him leaving his school in Long Island City. For the past two days, police from the emergency service unit have been searching a landfill near the school.
Law enforcement sources tell PIX 11 that cadaver dogs are being used in the hunt for the teen. But Avonte’s family, and complete strangers are keeping the faith, that the boy whose image is everywhere will come home.