Where is Avonte? NYPD May Scale Back

14-year-old non-verbal autistic boy, Avonte Oquendo, has been missing for 19 days. The search for Avonte has been quite extensive, using infrared cameras, voice-overs of his mother calling out for him, posters, announcements, etc., but to no avail. So what now? The New York Police Department is still continuing to search for the boy, interviewing those who have been previously arrested for abuse of children under the age of 16, and asking for anyone who has any information to speak up. But they are scaling back. Police Commissioner Ray Kelley comments, “

“We’re still devoting a lot of resources to the search. We’ll have to make adjustments as far as the deployment of the amount of resources that we have. We’ll do that some time during the week if we’re unsuccessful. Obviously we ask for the public’s help with any information at all.”[1]

The search team requests that if anyone has ANY information to visit the Crime Stoppers Website, or text the information to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

To conclude our series on steps to follow when dealing with children, especially those with special needs, are our “Lost Child Procedures”

  • Staff should report missing children immediately to supervisor
    • Supervisor will notify child care service administrative staff immediately. If the child is not found after initial search of immediate area is done then City and State agencies including the Police Department, New York City Children’s Services (formerly ACS), New York State Central Register for Child Abuse Maltreatment and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will be notified.
    • A missing child incident is reported to parents of child immediately by SKHOV Administration
    • Initiating and carrying out the search for the child.
      • The members of search team are SKHOV staff and administration
      • Search area parameters, duration and scope will be identified and determined based on each situation
      • Required staff to child ratios for remaining children shall be maintained by assistant or supervisors providing coverage.
      • Police will be notified to assist in search areas incorporating subways and busses when those modes of transportation are involved.
      • Search parties will communicate every 5 minutes by cell phone or intercom in school.
      • Search area expansion and including emergency services personnel in search will occur if the child is not found after initial search of building and immediate surroundings are not successful.
      • Remaining groups.
        • Will stay in contact with search party by cell phone or intercom system in school.
        • Groups will determine whether to remain at the activity/trip destination or return to the child care service based on instructions from SKHOV administration
        • At cessation of search.
          • Retrieved children shall be assessed by the Educational Director and will include:
            • A determination of the need for treatment for any perceived injury or need for medical intervention.

[1] “Gothamist” NYPD may reduce cops searching for missing boy Avonte Oquendo. 22 Oct 2013. Web. < http://gothamist.com/2013/10/22/nypd_may_reduce_cops_searching_for.php>