A photo of a boy riding a NY subway train who was thought to be missing 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo has been identified. NYPD officers located the boy in the photo and determined he was not the missing autistic child who vanished after he walked out of his Queens, NY high school on Oct. 4.
“It was not Avonte. This person whose photo it was was in the precinct with his parents,” a police spokeswoman told the Daily News.
The photo, taken by an unidentified teenager on Tuesday, lifted hopes that Avonte was alive, but Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said he was “not hopeful” Avonte was still alive. Kelly later apologized to Avonte’s enraged family.
According to the NY Daily News, the family was “hesitant” to identify that the photo was, or wasn’t, Avonte, who has a fascination with trains.
A reward for information on Avonte’s whereabouts has increased to $85,000, CBS reports.
Meanwhile, another autistic boy has been reported missing.
The NY daily News reports, Robert Richard, 14, went missing from Yonkers and may have wandered somewhere in the Bronx, authorities said Wednesday night. Anyone with information on either boy is asked to call 911.