New York’s top cop said Thursday that he wasn’t optimistic that Avonte Oquendo, the autistic boy who disappeared from his Queens school three weeks ago, will be found alive, but the boy’s family said they’re not giving up hope.
The father of Avonte Oquendo said Thursday that they keep looking even as Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said he wasn’t optimistic in the search for the boy who was last seen skipping away from his school in Long Island City Oct. 4.
"Everybody’s entitled to their own opinion,” Daniel Oquendo said. “It’s not going to slow us down, we’re going to continue our search.”
Oquendo, who has been scouring the city for his 14-year-old son with hundreds of volunteers over the last 21 days, added, “If anything, it’s going to make people work harder."
"We’re not in this to give up. We could have easily folded two weeks ago but that’s not the case. Hopefully what he says incites a lot more action out of people.”
The search for Avonte, who is mute, has sparked interest locally even as it has stretched from days to weeks.
NYPD officers joined volunteers in looking for the boy along with a high-profile search firm out of Texas. Members of the city's autistic community have also helped in the search, which has now spread outside New York City's borders.
Most recently, celebrity activist and talk show host the Rev. Al Sharpton contributed $5,000 to Avonte's reward fund and pledged the help of his National Action Network.