A teenager snapped this picture of a boy resembling missing Avonte Oquendo on an E or F subway train Tuesday afternoon. Police confirmed Thursday the individual is not Avonte.
A picture of a boy riding the subway that closely resembled Avonte Oquendo is not the missing teen, police said Thursday.
The photo emerged Wednesday and even Avonte's father said there was a "close likeness."
But police located the individual who was photographed and determined it is not Avonte, who has been missing since he walked out of his Queens 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.
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"He was taken to a precinct, he was with his mother and it’s confirmed he was not Avonte.”
Avonte, who has autism and is nonverbal, has been missing since Oct. 4.
The hope that Avonte had been found was renewed after a 13-year-old straphanger thought a boy riding an E or F line train Tuesday afternoon just might be the 14-year-old autistic boy who is nonverbal and has been missing nearly a month.
The youngster approached the look-a-like, asking, “Hey, are you Avonte?” according to Tony Herbert, president of the Brooklyn East chapter of the National Action Network.
The boy didn’t answer, Herbert said, and the inquiring youth — whose identity was unknown — snapped a picture before he got off the train.
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He later posted the photo of a boy staring straight ahead and wearing a beige jacket and green khaki pants on his Facebook page, sources said. An administrator from the good Samaritan’s school saw the image and alerted police.
Since Avonte vanished leaving his Long Island City school, authorities have been frantically scouring the city’s subway tunnels in hopes of finding him. Cops have received and investigated sporadic reports of possible sightings, as recently as Wednesday, all to no avail.
The 14-year-old walked out Center Boulevard School in Long Island City, Queens.
Around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, residents near the Woodhaven-Ozone Park border in Queens said NYPD cops from the 102 Precinct swarmed the area, and helicopters hovered above a Burger King on Atlantic Ave.
“We saw cops coming up by twos, going into every house on 92nd St. looking for security cameras,” said one resident, who declined to give her name.
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The person who sparked that massive search was not Avonte.
Tuesday’s subway photo emerged days after Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said he’s “not hopeful” that the autistic boy is still alive. He later apologized to Avonte’s enraged kin.
Family members were hesitant to affirm that the recently released image was, or wasn’t, Avonte, who has a fascination with trains.
He is described as being 5'3" tall and weighing 120 lbs. When he was last seen, he was wearing a gray striped shirt, black jeans and black sneakers.
After he was shown the photo, Avonte’s father, Daniel Oquendo, said he was “still hopeful.”
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He believes one of the possible sightings eventually will bear fruit.
“We just need to stay focused and analyze every sighting,” he said. “The more sightings, the better. Eventually one will pan out.
“We’re still hopeful,” he said.
A reward for finding Avonte is now up to $85,000, CBS reported.
Meanwhile, another autistic boy, 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.