As the heart-wrenching story of Avonte Oquendo grabs headlines in New York City and beyond, on Thursday night Piers Morgan welcomed the mother of the 14-year-old autistic boy who has been missing for nearly two weeks.
"It's every parents' nightmare ... and obviously you're just desperate to get your son back," noted the "Piers Morgan Live" host. "Do you believe in your heart, after all this time, that he's still alive?"
Joined by the family's lawyer, Vanessa Fontaine answered in the affirmative, even offering her instinct as to what may have happened to a boy that's unable to communicate verbally, and is said to have the mental capacity of someone half his age.
"I feel that someone has him, they are holding him because there's not a surveillance tape around that shows him at all in a train station, not walking in the street, anywhere," she said, of her child with a well-documented fondness for trains.
As the search for Oquendo continues, a soundtrack of Fontaine's voice plays through the streets, and underground, in an effort to encourage the boy to safety. On Thursday, Morgan shared a clip of that message:
"Hi, Avonte, it's mom. Come to the flashing lights, Avonte. Hi, Avonte, it's mom. Come to the flashing lights, Avonte."
In the event Avonte, or perhaps his captor, was watching Morgan's primetime program, the host asked his guest to reveal what words she might share.
Barely holding back tears, Fontaine offered her thoughts:
"My message to my son is that I love him and we're going to find him. You'll come home to your family," she said. "And for anyone who has him, please be kind and to let him go. Bring him, you know, to somewhere, I don't care if it's a fast food restaurant, a fire department, police station, just, you know, drop him there."
Watch the clip for more of Morgan's interview with Vanessa Fontaine, and anyone who has any information as to the whereabouts of Avonte Oquendo is encouraged to contact the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS. The public can also submit tips at the Crime Stoppers website, nypdcrimestoppers.com or text to 274637(CRIMES), then enter TIP577.