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New York City authorities believe the clothing on human remains found Friday in Queens match those of Avonte Oquendo, an autistic 14-year-old boy that went missing on Oct. 4, when he walked out of his school toward a park overlooking the East River.
The remains – an arm, the lower part of a torso and legs – were discovered Thursday along with black Air Jordan sneakers, white socks and tattered denim jeans.
The New York daily News reports that on Friday, police also found what appeared to be a human jawbone, as well as possible rib bones and a partial pelvis. The newspaper quotes David Perecman, the Oquendo family's lawyer, as saying, ‘Unfortunately, there is good reasons to think it's him.’
Avonte's mother, Vanessa Fontaine, took DNA samples to the medical examiner's office on Friday, as well as a toothbrush and a birth certificate with his baby footprint, according to published reports.
Oquendo’s disappearance sparked a search that included hundreds of officers, marine units and volunteers.
Missing person posters were plastered on lampposts and placed on car windshields throughout the city. The teen, who did not speak, was fascinated with the subway system and Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials made announcements on trains for weeks asking for help finding him. Police checked every subway station and tunnel.
Authorities also hunted down hundreds of tips in New York City and its suburbs. Despite a few false alarms, including an image of a person snapped on a train that resembled the boy, he has not been located.
A reward fund for information leading to Avonte's safe return was at least $60,000, including $50,000 from an anonymous donation to the advocacy group Autism Speaks.
Avonte's family has filed a notice of claim saying they planned to sue the city, arguing that school officials allowed him to walk out of the building and waited too long to notify police that he was missing.
Based on reporting by The Associated Press.
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