Church of Saint Joseph, New York – The funeral of Avonte Oquendo was presided over by the former Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Edward Egan
Avonte disappeared from his Queens school in October 2013 and his body was found last week. Investigators are still trying to determine how Avonte died. The first step in suing the city was the a$25-million notice of claim with the city comptroller was filed last October by the Oquendos’ lawyer David Perecman. The lawsuit is expected to be filed shortly.
Nearly 300 mourners gathered at the funeral, which was held Saturday Jan 25. Many of the volunteers who handed out flyers and helped with the search of Avonte were at the church on Saturday to pay their respects. Funeral costs and a family only wake with 100 relatives attending were covered by the Greenwich Village Funeral Home.
Actress Holly Robinson Peete, who herself has an autistic child and who is an advocate of autism awareness, flew from California to attend the funeral.
A photo gallery from Newsday regarding the funeral and discovery of the body can be viewed here.
Cardinal Egan said:
“This morning we are grateful to God for Avonte Oquendo, for his life, for his courage, and for the acts of goodness and kindness that his life and his tragic disappearance evoked among us.”
David Perecman closed his speech near the end of the service with,
“This family has lost Avonte and not in vain. We must promise that this will never happen again. Not to any child, especially not to one who is so dependent on us. We must make this promise to every parent who sends a child to school, every grandparent who sends a grandchild to school, every boy and girl who sends a brother or sister to school. Never again.”
Those in attendance at the church applauded and many were heard to repeat the refrain “Never again“.
Condolences can be sent on line by visiting the Greenwich Village Funeral Home’s website.