The mother of a missing Rego Park teenager has not given up hope that her son, who disappeared more than two months ago, will be found and has set up a headquarters in Astoria.
Avonte Oquendo, 14, was last seen on Oct. 4 after leaving Long Island City’s Riverview School. The youth is autistic and cannot communicate verbally.
Since then, a more than $90,000 reward has been offered for anyone who can provide information leading to the teen’s safe return and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said he would order a new review of school safety procedures.
Oquendo’s family has also filed a claim to sue the city on the grounds that the youth was not properly supervised.
Vanessa Fontaine, Oquendo’s mother, recently told NY 1 that she had not given up looking for her son and had relocated Avonte’s search headquarters to an indoor space at 21-81 24th St. in Astoria.
“Nobody knows how empty I feel without my son,” Fontaine told NY 1. “I just want everybody to understand while you’re with your family on this holiday, I would like my son home with me.”
Fontaine said she will be at the headquarters seven days a week and that the site will remain open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The city’s Police Department has followed up on more than 725 tips that have come in so far.
Oquendo is five-feet-three-inches and 125 pounds. He was last seen wearing a grey striped shirt, black jeans and black sneakers.
Anyone with information on the case should contact the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers hotline at 800-577-TIPS.