Video Shows Avonte Oquendo Running Through Open Door at School
QUEENS — Newly released surveillance footage shows Avonte Oquendo, an autistic teen from Rego Park whose remains were found earlier this month in College Point, running out of his school through a door that was left open for a half-hour, the family's lawyer said.
The footage, taken at the Riverview School in Long Island City on Oct. 4, was obtained by the lawyer, David Perecman, from the Department of Education after he filed a Freedom of Information Law request, he said.
The footage — a series of short clips — shows a man walking out of the school at 12:07 p.m. and leaving the door open, Perecman said.
More than a half-hour later, at 12:38 p.m., 14-year-old Avonte can be seen running to the door, pausing and then bolting outside.
Three minutes later a school safety agent is seen walking towards the door and closing it, Perecman said.
“What I’ve learned from the video is that the door was left open for 30 minutes and that’s a problem," Perecman said. “An open door is an invitation for a child like him.”
Perecman said the guard could not see the door directly from her desk, but the door was visible to her via a monitor.
He also suggested that the guard possibly closed the door after seeing Avonte running away.
“Why would she leave it open for 30 minutes?” he said. “Is the reason she closed it because she saw him actually go out?”
Perecman filed a $25 million notice of claim with the city comptroller's office last year, against the city and the DOE, claiming that they neglected Avonte that day.
The boy's remains found on a College Point beach were linked to Avonte through DNA testing.
Marge Feinberg, a spokeswoman for the Department of Education said in a email Wednesday that the agency “cannot comment on pending litigation.”
Perecman said that Avonte's family is going through a grieving and understanding process. “It's a child that was the focus of the entire family for many years," he said.