Family of missing autistic Queens boy to sue city

Avonte Oquendo, missing from Long Island City since midday Friday, Oct. 4. Credit: NYPD
Avonte Oquendo went missing from Long Island City midday Friday, Oct. 4.
Credit: NYPD

The family of an autistic boy who went missing from his school in Long Island City almost a full week ago is suing the city.

Avonte Oquendo, 14, was apparently caught on video camera leaving his school around 12:40 p.m. on Oct. 4. School staff noticed he was missing shortly after that when they were rounding up kids in the cafeteria to go back to class after lunch. There had been a fight between other students in the cafeteria, and it seemed that in the melée, Oquendo had been able to wander off unnoticed.

But the family’s lawyer, David Perecman, said Oquendo’s mother wasn’t called by the school until 1:40 p.m.

Moreover, he said, a school security guard later told Oquendo’s grandmother that she saw Oquendo leaving.

The guard reportedly confronted Oquendo, who is non-verbal. When she asked him where he was going and he didn’t answer, she let him go.

Oquendo’s school is a mix of special needs and mainstream students, and the guard reportedly told the grandmother she had assumed Oquendo was mainstream.

“We think the system makes no sense,” Perecman said, incredulous that a security guard standing at an exit would allow a “14-year-old with the brain capacity of a 7-year-old, who can’t speak” to just leave the school.

“Also,” Perecman added, “there’s the question of: What happened with this hour?”

Perecman said Oquendo’s mother arrived at the school about an hour after she was called, so at that point Oquendo had ostensibly been off the premises for about two hours. And yet she found school staff had spent all that time looking for Oquendo inside the school, even though the school security agent later told the boy’s grandmother that she had seen him leave.

Perecman said he doesn’t know when school officials first reviewed the security tape that showed Oquendo leaving the premises, but that his mother remembers it being shown to her.

The school also had Oquendo’s mother make an announcement over the P.A. system when she arrived.

“As if he still might be in school,” Perecman said in disbelief.

Oquendo is in the ninth grade at Center Boulevard School in Long Island City. He learns in classroom settings with five other special needs students, an instructor and a parent, Perecman said.

Perecman filed a notice of claim with the comptroller’s office Thursday, the first step in proceeding with a possible lawsuit.

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.