The remains that were discovered in Queens near the East River last week have been positively identified as those of missing autistic teen Avonte Oquendo.

Remains Confirmed As Avonte Oquendo

New York City Medical Examiner’s Office spokesperson Julie Bolcer confirmed the findings on Tuesday to CBS. Oquendo’s cause of death has yet to be determined, but will be released upon further testing of the late teen’s remains.

Law enforcement searched the hilly area in College Point, Queens after a photography student called in to report that she’d come across what she thought were human remains. At the scene, body parts and clothing and sneakers resembling that which Oquendo had been wearing at the time of his disappearance were found. Although it could not definitively be stated that the remains were Oquendo’s, his family’s lawyer said it was more than likely they’d found him.

“Unfortunately, there is good reason to think it’s him,” the Oquendo family lawyer, David Perecman, told the New York Daily News. “It’s more than just speculation.”

“[The family] is distraught, but they’re hopeful it’s not him,” Perecman added. “They remain optimistic that he’s still out there.”

In order to help investigators identify the remains, Oquendo’s mother provided a DNA sample, her son’s toothbrush and his baby footprint, reported Crimesider.

Oquendo went missing on Oct. 4, and was last seen walking through the halls of Riverview School. His disappearance launched a citywide manhunt, with the promise of a reward reaching $90,000. As the months wore on, it grew less likely that the missing teen would be found alive.

– Chelsea Regan

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