There’s a new, high-profile member of the growing search party for Avonte Oquendo, the 14-year-old with autism who went missing more than two weeks ago.
The Rev. Al Sharpton was joined Saturday by Oquendo's mother, father and brother as he addressed members of National Action Network, the civil rights organization he founded.
"I think it's important that they not have to bear this burden by themselves," Sharpton said of the missing nonverbal teen's family.
Daniel Oquendo, Avonte’s father, approached the podium and asked that people take even "five minutes" to look for Avonte.
"Be aware of your surroundings," he said. "When you're going to work, walking to the train, just keep your eyes open."
Vanessa Fontaine, Avonte's mother, called the situation "like a nightmare I can't wake up from."
Avonte Oquendo was last seen Oct. 4 leaving Riverview School, where he is enrolled in a special-needs program and is supposed to be under constant supervision. Surveillance footage from shows Oquendo leaving the school alone that day.
Oquendo, who is 5'3" and 125 pounds, was last seen in a gray striped shirt, black jeans and black shoes. Nearly $90,000 in reward money has been raised for Avonte's safe return.