‘This is a different type of search’: national search team on board to find missing teen

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LONG ISLAND CITY, N.Y. (PIX11) – Search volunteers looking for Avonte Oquendo  concentrated their efforts Sunday morning in an area by Con Ed’s plant and corporate learning center in Long Island City.   It’s where some of them reported Saturday night seeing a thin figure appearing to be eating out of a garbage can. The father of the missing teen with autism went with police to check out the possible sighting.

“When we got there, we had the infrareds, we had everything out there, but we came up negative,” said a disappointed Daniel Oquendo Sr.   “But that gives us hope that he may be around here.”

Avonte, 14, was last seen leaving his school in Long Island City on Oct. 4.  His family, desperate to find him, has called in the national search group Texas EquuSearch that has been involved in many high profile missing children cases.    Tim Miller, founder and director of EquuSearch, said the disappearance of Avonte Oquendo presents extraordinary challenges.

“It’s certainly a bigger challenge than Caylee Anthony in Florida.  Casey was a suspect in the beginning.  We had all the phone records, cell towers, different things.  There was an area in Florida in Orlando, where we could put 150 ground searchers doing things.  We don’t have that here,”  Miller said.   “Walking up and down the street, we can’t knock on every door.”

Miller praised the NYPD and volunteers for their efforts, saying they’ve done everything possible.  He believes that Avonte may have hopped on a train, and is no longer in the New York area.

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