UPDATED: Partial Body Found Near the East River Linked to Missing Teen Avonte Oquendo
Powell Cove, Queens
Jim.henderson via Wikimedia
NYPD investigators were dispatched to College Point, Queens at 7 p.m. Thursday night after a young woman discovered the remains of a body near Powell Cove Boulevard and Endeavor Place.
An NYPD spokesman tells the Voice that the body -- a lower torso, including both legs and one arm -- was partially decomposed. The remains have been turned over to the medical examiner to determine the cause of death. Police divers were on the scene Friday morning searching for more evidence.
Police could not speculate on the age of the person found, but did confirm the body was wearing blue jeans and black Nike sneakers.
The items match the description of the clothing missing teen Avonte Oquendo was wearing at the time of his disappearance. Several media outlets have linked the discovery to Oquendo. The NYPD could not comment on that speculation, nor confirm reports that Oquendo's family was notified by the police after the discovery was made.
Powell Cove Boulevard, where the body was discovered, is about a three hour walk from from the Riverview School in Long Island City that Avonte Oquendo walked away from on October 4.
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Update, 11:45 a.m.: David Perecman, a lawyer for the Oquendo family, held a press conference in College Point on Friday morning. He said that Avonte's mother, Vanessa Fountaine, was notified of the discovery at 2 a.m.
She is not yet convinced that it is her son. "There's been a lot of bad leads," Perecman said, characterizing Fountaine's response when she heard from police. He added, "She's not going to be convinced this is her son, until they convince her."
The family will wait for a DNA test to confirm the remains are Oquendo. Perecman did confirm that the shoes and jeans were the exact type and size the missing boy had on the day he walked away from his school. "It's a size 5 1/2 Nike sneakers and size 16 jeans, which were both what he was wearing on the day he left, which are troubling things to hear."
Perecman, who is representing Fountaine as she pursues a lawsuit against the city, said Oquendo's mother will continue searching for her son until she receives official confirmation that he has been found.
"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."
Send story tips to the author, Tessa Stuart
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