I write this as my eyes fill with tears. Today is a very sad day for the family of Avonte Oquendo. Avonte has Autism and is non verbal. Four months ago he went missing from his school in NY. He walked out in the middle of the day when no one was watching. He was never to be heard from again...until today. Last night a teenage girl spotted some body parts near the water. Police reported there was an arm, leg, torso, jeans and sneakers. They believe it matches sweet Avonte. The news said there should be a police report later to confirm if it is him.
Not a day goes by since this sweet boy went missing that I haven't thought about him. A boy I have never met but feel a connection too since my boys are similar to him. People with Autism often wonder off. If they are nonverbal, they can not ask anyone for help. They can easily get lost, or get taken advantage of. His family sent him to school thinking he was being watched and taken care of. I can't imagine what they must be feeling or how badly their hearts must be aching.
Parents, teachers, friends, family and strangers, we must keep Avonte's spirit alive and fight for him. Children and adults with Autism often can not fight for themselves. We need to make sure nothing like this happens again. It's my worst fear as a parent.
Sweet Avonte, you were loved by so many. We will continue to fight the fight. We will not fail you. RIP