Published October 31, 2013
The search for an autistic boy who has been missing for nearly a month remains active after NYPD investigators determined that the child resembling Avonte Oquendo is not the teen.
The photograph, obtained Wednesday by FoxNews.com, was reportedly taken by a teenager who thought the boy riding an E or F line train on Tuesday was the missing 14-year-old who was last seen on Oct. 4 walking out of his school in Queens.
Tony Herbert, president of the Brooklyn East chapter of the National Action Network, told the Daily News that the unidentified teenager asked the boy, “Hey, are you Avonte?” The boy didn’t answer and the unidentified teen snapped a picture before getting off the train, the newspaper reports.
The boy in the photo bore such a likeness to Avonte — who is unable to communicate verbally — that even Avonte’s father could not be sure it wasn't him. But NYPD sources told FoxNews.com Thursday that the unidentified boy and his mother went to a precinct on Wednesday to confirm that he wasn't the missing child.
"It was confirmed that it was not him," a police source told FoxNews.com.
Oquendo earlier told the New York Daily News that he remains hopeful that one of the possible sightings of his son will eventually be confirmed.
“We just need to stay focused and analyze every sighting,” he told the newspaper. “The more sightings, the better. Eventually one will pan out … We’re still hopeful.”
The boy in the photo was seen wearing a beige jacket and green khaki pants. Avonte, meanwhile, was last seen wearing a gray striped shirt, black jeans and black sneakers.
The frantic search for Avonte has included the use of his mother’s voice projected from a van in the Queens neighborhood near where he disappeared after inexplicably leaving his school.
“Hi Avonte, it’s mom. Come to the flashing lights, Avonte,” the boy’s mother, Vanessa Fontaine, said in the recording. “It’s mom, Avonte. Hi Avonte, come to the flashing lights. It’s mom.”
Anyone with information regarding the boy is asked to NYPD officials at (800) 577-8477.