The family of an autistic teenager from Rego Park who has been missing for more than two weeks is calling for volunteers to join the search, NY 1 reported.
On Saturday, Rev. Al Sharpton pledged $5,000 in reward money for information leading to Avonte Oquendo’s return during a rally in Harlem.
Law firm Mayerson & Associates, which almost exclusively represents individuals with autism, had previously announced that it would pay $5,000 for Oquendo’s return. The total reward for information leading to the youth’s safe return has grown to more than $70,000.
Oquendo, who cannot communicate verbally, was last seen on Oct. 4 after having left the Riverview School in Long Island City.
The teenager is five-feet-three-inches and 125 pounds. He was last seen wearing a grey striped shirt, black jeans and black sneakers.
Oquendo’s family has filed a claim to sue the city and school on the grounds that the teen was not properly supervised.
This past weekend, Oquendo’s father called on volunteers to join the search.
“We’re trying to get as many volunteers together because they want a search team, they want a large amount of numbers to show up,” Daniel Oquendo told NY 1.
The family has set up a search base on 51st Avenue and Center Boulevard in Long Island City.
Anyone with information on the case should contact the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers hotline at 800-577-TIPS.