New York – The long search is over. An intensive and painstaking search, that lasted more than 100 days, for 14 year old Avonte Oquendo came to an end on Tuesday. The initial body parts retrieved last Thursday have been verified as those of Avonte. The medical examiner’s office said the cause and manner of death are pending further study.
The investigation by police into the cause of his death will continue. Stephen Davis, the Police Department’s top spokesman, says
“The big finding is going to be if they come up with a cause of death. And that is a big ‘if’ in a case like this, where the body is in the water for so long.”
The police say that at the moment there is not indication of foul play.Forensic experts said it was not unusual for bodies found in the water to be decomposed and dismembered. By yesterday, investigators had been able to retrieve as much as 90 percent of the body.
One theory is that Avonte may have fallen into the river, which has strong currents but the family discounts this since Avonte had a fear of the water.
The lawyer for the family, David Perecman has expressed concerns that Avonte’s body was found wearing the large Fruit of the Loom underwear that was not the correct size. This suggests to Perecman that someone could have had him “for a few days”. The family insists that Avonte only wore Hane’s brand.
Perecman told the New York Post:
If it is him, what that indicates to me is that something happened. Someone got a hold of him, moved him. I can’t say they harmed him, but why would the underwear have gotten changed?
Whether this is an accident or something more sinister, it remains a major concern for many families with children who have autism and are particularly vunerable. As reported by Autism Daily Newscast, statistics show that 91 percent of autistic children aged 14 and below who wandered have consequently drowned.