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DNA matches remains to missing autistic boy in New York City

Body parts found along the shore of the East River in Queens have been matched by DNA to Avonte Oquendo, the teen who went missing more than three months ago, the NYPD confirmed Tuesday.

The body parts were found Thursday night in College Point, just southwest of the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, about 9 miles by waterway from where Avonte was last seen on Oct. 4.

The disappearance of the autistic and mute teen launched a search that spanned the city and extended even into the suburbs for weeks. He walked out of his school in Long Island City, near the East River, and was never seen again.

Authorities said a human arm was found by a resident Thursday night, and then more body parts by officers who responded.

Searchers also located a pair of size 5 1/2 Air Jordan sneakers and a pair of jeans matching what Avonte was wearing the day he disappeared. A pair of underwear that was found did not match the size or brand he was wearing, sources said.

The flow of the East River, which is actually a tidal strait and not a river, changes direction with the tide, so it could have flowed from nearby Avonte's school to the place where the parts were found.

Family lawyer Daniel Perecman said the child was last seen on surveillance video in a park right along the water. But, he said, the teen is afraid of water and "doesn't like it." The family doesn't believe he would have voluntarily crossed a shoreline barrier.

"Which is why we thought early on it would have been highly unlikely for him to go over that fence," he said.

 — NBC New York