Human remains found on a beach in Queens, N.Y., are likely those of Avonté Oquendo, a severely autistic teen who has been missing since Oct. 4, according to reports.
Investigators believe arms and legs found in College Point on Thursday night are likely those of the missing boy, sources told DNA Info.
The area is several miles northeast of where the nonverbal teen was last seen. NYPD harbor units are searching the water around the area.
A 14-year-old girl was taking pictures when she found the remains on some rocks at about 7:15 p.m., a New York Police Department representative said. Clothes matching what Oquendo was last seen wearing when he ran out of school were also found including blue jeans in his size and a size 5 and a half Nike Air Jordan sneaker.
His mother was notified at 2 a.m. and asked to give a DNA sample, her lawyer David Perecman told the New York Times.
“They have held out hope and the mother has been as relentless as possible, searching for her son,” Perecman said.
The tragic circumstances of the boy’s disappearance coupled with the more than 100 days without finding him, had led many to wonder about the investigation and the family to plead for the FBI to take the lead in the high-profile missing person’s case that captivated New York City.
Police seemed to have been annoyed with the actions of the girl who found the remains, after she wrote about the discovery on Twitter before alerting authorities, the New York Post reported.
“Instead of calling 911 right away, she got on Twitter and talked about it,” the source told the Post. “Then she finally told her mom and they called 911.”
If Oquendo was indeed found near a beach it would confirm fears from autism experts and advocates.
“Water is a huge issue of concern,” Ashley Parker of the Autism Society told BuzzFeed before reports that he may have been found dead. “Lots are very drawn to water because they have no concept of barrier.”
Though the outlook is grim, many across Twitter are holding out hope that the remains are not Oquendo’s, and that he will still be brought home alive.
People online aren’t the only ones holding out hope. At a press conference held in College Point, Pereceman spoke of the steadfastness of Vanessa Fontaine, Oquendo’s mother. “She doesn’t seem to me to have ever lost hope,” Perecman said. “She gets up in the morning. She cries her eyes out. She wipes her tears and then she goes out and does what she has to do.” She will continue searching for her son until the identity of the remains are confirmed.
BuzzFeed has reached out to police and Oquendo’s family members for comment and will continue to update this story.