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Transit Workers Join Search for Missing Teen

amber alert for avante oquendo
Amber Arlert for Avante Oquendo

In an unprecedented and monumental effort, hundreds of track workers and maintenance personnel fanned out through the entire subway system searching for the autistic teen, who walked away from his Long Island City school more than a week ago and has not beenseen since.

MTA New York City Transit joined in the intensive city-wide search for Avonte Oquendo with the canvassing of hundreds of miles of subway tunnel, all468 subway stations, more than 1,000 maintenance and equipment rooms throughout the system as well as every train yard. This effort is in addition to recorded and live announcements being made in stations and on board trains around the system. A search of NYCT’s Casey Stengel Bus Depot, which sits adjacent to the Corona subway car maintenance facility, was conducted as well as all buses parked on the depot property.

After a suspension of all non-essential track work, the search began at 10 p.m. Thursday and searched around the clock until early Saturday morning.The search began again at 10 p.m. Friday and continued into the early hours of Saturday. “This was a search of the system conducted by the men and women who know our system best,” said ChiefInfrastructure Officer Frank Jezycki. “It is not an understatement to say that these are dangerous areas for anyone who does not know them.”

The non-verbal youngster, who reportedly has a fascination for trains, walked out of his school on October 4 and has not been seen since. The NYPD conducted searches along segments of the G Subway Line Icon and 7 Subway Line Icon Lines immediately after the youth’s disappearance.

NYC Transit’s Department of Security has passed out copies of the missing poster flyer with the child’s photo and they are instructed at the beginning of every tour to be sure to ‘be on the look-out’ for any child who might fit this description, so we can hopefully find him safe and sound, and thenget him the assistance he needs.

Vinnie DeMarino, Vice President Department of Security said, “The flyer has been distributed at all Security posts and booths, and all Property Protection Agents and EAGLEteam members - those doing vandalism patrol in our 21 subway yards and those working Fare Inspection-Fare Evasion on NYCT busescitywide, also have it. Additionally, we are making several announcements over our citywide security radio so all my people hear it.”

The genesis of this action: The NYPD has requested our assistance in this matter. This child has been missing for several days, but today the PD was investigating the possibility that the missing child might be riding subways or buses, (he is supposedly fascinated with public transit) and – or possibly might be trying to seek shelter in one of our depots or subway yards.

While we all hope he is found safe and sound, we are going to do what we always do-all we can to assist the NYPD until this matter is resolved.