New video of disappearance of Avonte Oquendo

Sarah Wallace reports on new video of Avonte Oquendo running out of school.
April 7, 2014 2:58:28 PM PDT
Eyewitness News has obtained new video and new details from a police report on the disappearance of Avonte Oquendo.

The teen's disappearance set off a citywide search and ended in heartbreak when his body was found three months later.

Because the impression many people had is that Avonte made a break for it and got away before anyone noticed.

But the video we have obtained paints a different picture, and police reports now reveal the day before he disappeared for good, there had been another incident.

The video shows Avonte running down a hallway through an open door at his school in Long Island City on Friday, October 5th.

Police reports obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that the autistic teen had tried to escape the day before.

Teacher Mitchell Glover told investigators that he was bringing Avonte and the other students down from the 5th floor the 2nd floor, when Avonte ran down to the first floor trying to get away from the group.

Mitchell also advised that the stairwell they use is stairway A and leads to the side door.

"How much more do you need to know that somebody does the exact same thing the day before, to know that's a problem," said Oquendo family attorney David Perecman.

Perecman says he has no information the teacher ever flagged administrators. But Avonte's mother had warned another teacher previously he liked to run and needed to be watched.

But that critical information was never passed along. On that fateful Friday, Avonte darted outside after getting past distracted school safety officer Bernadette Perez, who was speaking to a dad and his daughter.

In the extended video, you can see Avonte walking past her, not once but twice.

She later told investigators she thought the teen had followed her orders to return to his classroom but never followed up.

Three minutes after he ran out, the investigation found "Perez gets up from her post and notices the side exit ajar. She then walks down the hall and closes the door without looking outside". It had been open for nearly a half hour.

Investigators further noted "SSA Perez did not attempt to ascertain who might have used the door to exit the school." "The evidence keeps mounting up. They let him go and they didn't come after him. So it's a double mistake," said Perecman.

School officials finally called 911, 53 minutes later. The first time police investigatoars ever saw the video was 2 hours and 42 minutes later, because no one had the access code to the camera system. So far no one has been disciplined.


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