Avonte's mother continues search with new headquarters

N.J. Burkett reports from the headquarters in Astoria, Queens.
December 10, 2013 8:28:58 PM PST
Avonte Oquendo's mother and other family members have opened a new search headquarters in Astoria in the hopes of finding the missing autistic boy.

"Every day I wake up and he's on my mind to find him," said Vanessa Fontaine, Avonte's mother.

Vanessa Fontaine has no doubt.

She remains convinced that her son, Avonte Oquendo, is alive.

Not living on the bitter-cold, windswept streets of New York City, but in someone's home, and she's determined to get him back.

"If you have him, just let him go, return him. Put him in a public place with a note saying, 'This is the child missing, call 911', and they can walk away, I just want my child back," Fontaine said.

Avonte was last seen leaving his school in Long Island City two months ago. He is 14 years old and severely autistic.

An intensive search in the days that followed was fruitless. Volunteers have plastered the city with posters while others have manned telephone banks.

His mother has taken a leave of absence from her job with an insurance firm, and is using her life savings to open a search headquarters in a tiny apartment in Astoria.

"I want people to know that this boy is still missing," Fontaine said, "Take a moment to look in a child's face and say you know that this could be the kid. He could have passed on by you and you wouldn't even know it."

"I just can't imagine what the family's going through," a Queens resident said.

"I do think about it. I see the signs in the subway all the time, sometimes they still make announcements. I hope he turns up," another resident said.

Vanessa Fontaine says she speaks with detectives every day. Anybody with is urged to call the NYPD. There's a $95,000 reward.