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NYPD "Optimistic" About Finding Autistic Teen, Missing 8 Days

An official said more than 80 tips about Avonte Oquendo have come in

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    NEWSLETTERS

    More than a week after an autistic teen who can't speak vanished from his Queens school, an NYPD official said police are "optimistic" about finding him.

    "We're still pretty optimistic and hopeful that we will find Avonte and deliver him back home to his family," Phillip Banks, the NYPD's chief of detectives, said at a press conference Saturday.

    NYPD Expands Search for Autistic Teen, Missing for 1 Week

    [NY] NYPD Expands Search for Autistic Teen, Missing for 1 Week
    Police have expanded the search for Avonte Oquendo, the 14-year-old mute autistic boy last seen skipping away from his Queens school a week ago, searching train tunnels and waterways and interviewing sex offenders in the area. Jonathan Vigliotti reports. (Published Friday, Oct 11, 2013)

    Avonte Oquendo was last seen skipping away from his school on Oct. 4.

    Banks said more than 80 tips about the boy have come in but none of the leads have led to sightings of the boy.

    Volunteers Swarm NYC Neighborhoods in Search for Missing Autistic Boy

    [NY] Volunteers Swarm NYC Neighborhoods in Search for Missing Autistic Boy
    Six days after 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo was last seen running away from his Queens school, family, friends and volunteers are ramping up their search for the missing mute autistic boy, relying on the community to mobilize and keep awareness high. Checkey Beckford reports. (Published Friday, Oct 11, 2013)

    "We've done an extensive search; that search entails aviation units using the best technology we possess," said Banks, adding that the NYPD's harbor and SCUBA units were also searching for Avonte.

    Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Friday that 50 police officers each day were working on the search for Avonte, which now extends to Long Island and New Jersey.

    Search Intensifies for Missing Autistic Boy After False Alarm

    [NY] Search Intensifies for Missing Autistic Boy After False Alarm
    The family of a missing 14-year-old mute autistic boy is intensifying their search for him after a false alarm Tuesday when police initially reported they'd found the boy. Brynn Gingras reports. (Published Tuesday, Oct 8, 2013)

    Police have concentrated much of the search in subway and transit facilities because of the boy's fascination with trains. Officials said Friday that every single subway line had been searched. Announcements could be heard in subway stations notifying riders to be on the lookout for the missing child who is unable to speak.

    Avonte's father, Daniel Oquendo, spent the entire night Thursday searching for his son. He said in an interview about 4 a.m. Friday that he hadn't slept more than about 12 hours since his son went missing.

    Mother Pleads for Help Finding Missing Teen

    [NY] Mother Pleads for Help Finding Missing Teen
    A Queens teen who suffers from autism was still missing Sunday evening and his family is desperate to find him. Brynn Gingras reports. (Published Sunday, Oct 6, 2013)

    "We can't even sleep," he said. "It's hard to sleep knowing your child is out there and he could be cold and hungry and he can't even communicate."