Avonte Oquendo’s Story

Avonte Oquendo was just 14 years old when his life was tragically cut short. Security footage showed Avonte leaving Riverside School in Long Island City, Queens, unattended and alone, on October 4, 2013. This was the last time Avonte was seen alive. Avonte suffered from autism and could not speak. Many children and adults whose lives are affected by autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are prone to bolting from their families and caregivers, often due to a desire to escape sources of overstimulation. These individuals require constant care and supervision.

The search that was launched for Avonte was unprecedented in the city of New York. Sadly, that search ended three months later when Avonte’s body was found near the East River. The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., represented the Oquendo family, and remains among those dedicated to ensuring that Avonte’s legacy lives on, and that he did not die in vain.