It's been two months since the body of 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo was found in the river of New York, and now his older brother, Danny, has written a letter to the City of New York, thanking people for coming together to try and find the autistic teen.
"When it matters most, this city comes together in larger numbers than any other community," Danny wrote. "This tendency for New Yorkers to come together also held true during the city-wide search for my younger brother, Avonte Oquendo. Let this be a reminder that at the end of the day, as tough as New Yorkers are, we can come together as one to achieve common goals that are in the best interest of our children, our loved ones, and our city."
Avonte left his school in Long Island City on Oct. 4, leading to a city-wide and state-wide search for the autistic teen who was barely able to communicate with others. Subway drivers made announcements reminding riders to keep an eye out for the teen, along with a description of what he was last wearing. Entire communities came together to pray and lead searches for Avonte.
Unfortunately, no searches turned up any information about Avonte's whereabouts. Limbs found on the banks of the East River turned out to belong to the teen, and soon more of his body was found. The city was devastated, as was Avonte's family. Now they are hoping to use Avonte's death to spur new practices at schools where autistic students are present.
"Let us do what is necessary to allot more funding for schools so they can provide their staff with proper training and implement appropriate security measures that would prevent another incident like this. Let this tragic occurrence be the surge that build up enough momentum to provide a real solution to the problematic issues that this hardship has brought to our attention," Danny wrote.
"On behalf of my family, I would like to thank all the searchers, marchers and everyone who held us in their thoughts for the love and support you have displayed during these extremely rough times. God bless you," he concluded.