Police discovered a second arm and other human tissue in a New York river on Saturday and believe that the body parts belong to an autistic teen who went missing in October.
The first arm was found on Thursday in the East River, which sparked a large search along the river’s banks and ultimately led to the discovery of more unidentified body parts.
The family of the missing teen is awaiting DNA results.
Avonte Oquendo, a 14-year-old with autism, wandered away from his school on Oct. 4 and has been missing since.
Avonte’s family has refused to give up hope and they still believe he could come home one day.
“I’ll say it again,” the family’s lawyer, David Perecman, said on Sunday. “It’s not Avonte until the DNA evidence comes in and says it is.”
Perecman, however, had to admit that the situation is “not looking great.”
The articles of clothing that were discovered along with the remains seem to match the clothes that Avonte had on when he was last seen by a security officer at the school the day he disappeared.
The teen’s disappearance has sparked a lot of criticism about the way the New York City Department of Education handles special-needs students.
The guard briefly asked Avonte what he was doing when he saw the teen wandering around, but Avonte didn’t respond and left the building with no further questions.
New York City has mainstreamed nearly 200,000 special-needs students, integrating them in local public schools.
The issue, however, is that many of these schools don’t know how to deal with students with disabilities or special-needs nor do they have sufficient knowledge of their conditions.
Ever since the students were intermixed into local schools, the number of special-needs students being suspended for behavioral issues has skyrocketed in those districts. New York City schools have promised to bulk up security to prevent any other students from wandering off.
New York City police will continue their search for Avonte until they can confirm the identity of the remains.