Although African Americans make up just 13 percent of the U.S. population, we account for 33 percent of the missing in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s database. Cases involving African Americans also tend to receive less media coverage than missing Whites, with missing men of color getting even less attention.
NewsOne has partnered with the Black and Missing Foundation and TV One to focus on the crisis of missing African Americans.
To be a part of the solution, NewsOne will profile a missing person weekly and provide tips about how to keep your loved ones safe and what to do if someone goes missing, while TV One‘s newest show, “Find Our Missing,” hosted by award-winning actress S. Epatha Merkerson, tells these stories in visual form.
Case Type: Disability, Endangered
Date of Birth: January 1, 1999
Missing Date: October 4, 2013
Age Now: 14
Missing City: Queens
Missing State: New York
Hair Color: Black
Hair Length: Short
Eye Color: Brown
Wear Glasses or Contacts: No
Location Last Seen: Leaving Center Boulevard School in Long Island City at around 12:45 p.m.; surveillance video shows Avonte simply running out the door.
Circumstances of Disappearance: Avonte has the mind of a 7-year-old, suffers from autism, and is mute. According to authorities, he is supposed to be constantly monitored while at school. The N.Y.C. Department of Education is investigating the circumstances that allowed the boy to simply slip out of the school, WCBS News reports.
No aide or guard was seen on video when the teen was exiting the building of the school, which is located at 1-50 51 Ave. in Long Island City.
School safety agents are now handing out photos of Avonte with the goal of finding the teen.
“My heart is broken he is not home with us,” Avonte’s mother, Vanessa Fontaine, told ABC News.
The family wants to know why Avonte was not monitored and why there was no guard at the door but want to find the teen first. Avonte’s brother, Danny Oquendo, has set up a fund-raising site to assist with efforts to find the teen, reported news website DNAinfo New York.
“He’s autistic and he cannot verbally communicate at all,” said Danny Oquendo. “He can’t even tell someone if he’s hungry.”
Last Seen Wearing: A gray striped shirt, black jeans, and black sneakers
Identifying Marks or Characteristics: Avonte suffers from autism and is mute.
Anyone with information may contact the NYPD Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS. Tips can also be texted to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577. Information can also be sent to the Black and Missing Foundation’s confidential Tip Line.