MANHATTAN — Police have investigated nearly 600 tips and examined close to 460 videos in the search for Avonte Oquendo, NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.
The autistic teen, who has been missing for almost a month, ran out of his Long Island City school on Oct. 4. He was seen on video going into a nearby park and then walking along a path next to the East River — the last video sighting of him.
“We’re still working, devoting resources to the search. We have had 599 tips, all but nine of those tips have been closed," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said during a Friday press conference at police headquarters.
"We are up to something close to 460 videos that have been examined. There may be a small number more that need to be examined. Virtually all have been looked at by detectives.”
Police and hundreds of volunteers have been canvassing the city since, handing out thousands of flyers and scouring rail yards and subway stations because of Oquendo's fascination with trains.
Kelly had previously said police were "not hopeful" Oquendo would be found alive.
His comments upset the missing teen's family, who pleaded with police to keep the search going.
"My son is still out there, and I want everyone to continue to help me search for my son — he is not gone," Oquendo's mother, Vanessa Fontaine said on Oct. 25. "I don’t know what the commissioner was thinking of last night by saying that, but my son, he's alive, he's out there."
Police started to focus their search last week on the East River.
According to experts, autistic children are often attracted to water. Oquendo was last seen wearing a gray striped shirt, black jeans and black sneakers. He is 5-foot-3 and weighs 125 pounds.
Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS. The public can also submit tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting tips to 274637(CRIMES), then entering TIP577.