‘He’s like my own son’: Volunteers stay hopeful in search for Avonte Oquendo

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The search for 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo has been steadfast since October 4 when he walked out of school.

But now, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly is saying he may eventually be forced to scale back search efforts.

Volunteers Rosemary Mercado, Antone Herbert and Marie Delus say they will continue to search for Avonte until he is found.

“When I go to bed at night and when I wake up in the morning, I have to search for this baby,” Delus said. “That’s how I live my life. I need to find Avonte.”

A youth advocate, 18-year-old Antone Herbert said Avonte going missing hits really close to home. “A 14-year-old is missing. We have to find this kid. We can’t just let him go on by himself, where ever he may be,” Herbert said.

All three volunteers believe Avonte is still alive, despite it coming on three weeks since he was last time. “Until they find him, he’s alive to me. He’s like my own son…he’s alive until they tell me otherwise,” Delus said.

The reward for Avonte’s safe return is now $90,000.

If you see Avonte or have any information, call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.