Avonte search continues, Schumer suggests tracking devices for autistic youth

Nayaba Arinde | 11/7/2013, 2:12 p.m.
The city has been transfixed by the story that autistic and non-verbal Avonte Oquendo
Avonte's father, Daniel Oquendo

According to Schumer’s office, “Tracking technology includes personal locating devices that can prevent tragedy when individuals wander from school or home and are lost. Tracking devices can be worn as nontampering wristwatches, anklets or clipped onto belt loops or onto shoelaces. When users of the device are missing, the caregiver/school system notifies the device company, and a trained emergency team responds to the area. Most who wander are found within a few miles from home. Recovery time for Project Lifesaver users, a maker of one of the devices, averages 30 minutes, which is 95 percent less time than it takes to find those without these tracking devices.” Schumer noted that these devices should be used in conjunction with other educational and behavior supports.

According to a study conducted by the Interactive Autism Network and AWAARE, “49 percent of children and teens with autism attempt to run or wander. Of those who attempted to run, 53 percent of the children were missing long enough to cause serious concern.”

With the family doing radio and TV interviews, the story has gone national, picked up by network and cable media, including all the local stations, MSNBC, CNN and BET. Law enforcement predicts that Avonte Oquendo could be anywhere in the city or even outside of the city.

Anyone with information on the case should contact the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS, text CRIMES and then enter TIP577 or visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com.