READ about Piers Morgan's long career in journalism here.
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.
For the next edition of "Piers Morgan Live," watch CNN every night at 9.
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My daughter is 14. She is deaf. Does your son know sign language? How do you communicate w/ your son? I am asking as it may be helpful for the people looking for him.
I already sent 1 comment asking about sign language, but I did forget to say to you as parents, the following; I know what it feels like to not hear, "I love you, Mommy & Daddy" I know that you say that alot to him, but do not get it back, I have been there as my daughter did not get diagnosed as deaf until she was 3 & 1/2. Sara's speech was gavely affected & I was devastated that I could not change it for her. My biggest fear is that someone will take advantage of this or hurt her. Sara now reads lips and signs and lets us know. You are good parents and know that he loves you both so much, but cannot let you know. My houghts & prayers are w/ you and your family.
Avonte is not deaf. He doesn't know sign language. He is autistic and can not communicate verbally to be able to ask for help. He doesn't know how to read or write anything but his name, as far as I know. Some reports call him "mute", but i think that may be the incorrect term. My own grandson is autistic non verbal, too, but he squeals, can make sounds, and sometimes a word or two (!), so I don't call him "mute". I am just a volunteer who has been trying to spread the word to search your own neighborhoods and share this with everyone you know and don't give up until he is found! Thank you.
April, you don't need to be deaf to learn sign language.
Jake, that is an inappropriate and horrible thing to say about this family that is suffering for their missing autistic child through absolutely NO fault of their own whatsoever. You would not believe what autistic kids and autism parents go through because of the school system. They will blame the children and parents for everything, even things that happen AT school! When my child was misplaced by the school during the 1980's, they took him to the childcare center across the street instead of the carline where he was supposed to be. When I arrived, my child was missing! Then my son ran to his teacher to tell her what happened, and his teacher thought he was very heroic and praised him! But the principal yelled at me and my child (who found HIMSELF) while I was still feeling traumatized. There are school administrators and officials that will do ANYTHING to save their jobs and the liability of the schools instead of protecting the children, and that is why the parents need to get a lawyer ASAP.
My prayers and thoughts are with this family and Avonte, I am a mother to a 3 yr old autistic boy who is also non verbal. This mother is going thru hell right now I only hope they find him alive and safe. Right now this mother is probably wishing she kept him home and had him home schooled. I myself will have my son start school next week and to sit and wonder if thats the right thing to do because Im placing my son with other people that may not be able to watch him like I do, know him like I do. Its horrible that we do not have a missing persons system put up in states for autistic children to have gps monitors up. It cost 5000.00 to get the program started in your area thru the police dept. Something should be in place for vulnerable adults, kids. This is a tragedy that im hoping will have a better ending. FIND AVONTE SOON!!!!
I think the mother is probably numb from everything, and like she said, she believes that he is still alive. I have seen her cry and look very sad. It has been two weeks already so she is probably all cried out.
I have been praying for this family night and day and I hope they find Avonte, I myself also have a autdtic son and can only imagine what this family is going thru but I just wanted to let them know they have me and my family prayers from Kalamazoo, MI.
The whole autistic community is looking for Avante, when my son runs,he usally goes to the same place, they should get search dogs and check the tunnels at train stations where he had been found before. Pleasedo something more
You said he was found in tunnel before where did u get that information? im just wondering becasue i also emailed an email address of his so said brother a month ago wondering what his past history was his habbits . friends and patterns and n one even cared to reply. i found that kind of strange , also sad because i was someone with a abilty to find things. weill i also suffer from a kind of autism. i was also waiting to get to see a dr for a year while holding off my fate to hands of abusers taking advantage of the condtions i suffer from medical neglect a sick family and left alone but still by oct had abilty to see and sense find things . harder but i made an effort. my condtions came out of seizur like but with other connections and curable but without right things i was doomed. i found it kind of weird they did not even care to respond. if it was all that important. i cant say i lost interest . but the i found my own self suffering aind in danger and got swept off..
Sharing again in Cleveland. I shared it when it first happened but did not know he was still missing. My prayers for a safe return.
God be with Avonte and his family.Guide this child to them ...I have prayed daily...I am the mother of a 12 year old autistic son...And shame on the one saying he hasn't seen his mother cry.So what...many people grieve in different ways.This woman misses her son...I can see that in her eyes...I see desperation...she just wants him back with her safe and sound.And this school definitely needs to be held responsible ...all parties involved in supervising him messed up BIG.They should have immediately contacted authorities,parents as soon as they saw he was not there...so they could have started looking immediately for him...and I am sure they would have got to him before all this time passed.
In watching the video of his mother , she states that there is no video of her son entering the train , I hope they search the hospitals where mental patients are at , I BELIVE IN THE WINDOW WHEN NOBODY WAS LOOKING FOR AVONTE , SOMEONE CALLED TO REPORT THIS CHILD , AND HE MIGHT BE IN PLACEMENT IN FOSTER CARE AS HE CAN'T IDENTFY HIMSELF OR HIS MOM , PLEASE NYC , CHECK THE SYSTEM , ANY JOHN DOE ADMITS IN HOSPITAL , HE IS ALIVE , THIS CHILD WILL BE FOUND , IM FAITHFUL AND HOPEFUL , MANY KIDS GET LOST IN THE NYC FOSTERCARE SYSTEM , PLEASE JUST TRY TO FOLLOW UP ON THIS , AS HE MIGHT BE IN A HOME OR HOSPITAL UNKNOWN ,
We need the FBI ! IN ON THIS CASE !
The entire autistic community ( my son is autistic ) are concerned as to how the police and all agencies are addressing one of our children , yes NYC is doing everything in their power to help , but it's bigger then city police , we need the FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION TO GET INVOLVED ASAP , EQUARA SEARCH IS NICE , BUT NOT THE F.B.I. , LET'S FIND AVONTE , BRING OUR SON HOME TO HIS FAMILY ,
Jacqueline, if he is in the hospital or mental hospital, don't you think the family would be notified. Avonte's picture is all over the world. I am from Canada and I see it every day. They would know who he is.
This is 100% impossible, I live in england but i am 100% certain that any foster/emergency placement goes on to a central government system. And even if it doesnt, anyone who provides emergency care will have the sense to contact police
I hearing the latest story of AVONTE , MY HEART IS BROKEN , TO PRAY FOR A CHILD DAILY AND ASK GOD TO ALLOW HIM TO BE LOCATED AND SAFE RETURN , I CRYED SINCE THIS MORNING , MAY GOD BLESS THE OQUENDO FAMILY AND GIVE THEM STRENGTH TO FIND GODS PEACE , ALL ALWAYS REMEMBER AVONTE AS HE BECAME PART OF MY FAMILY , GOD BLESS AND I WISH YOU THE BEST
To Ms. Fontaine,
They might have asked you this a million times but, What was being taught in school on that week? Was he using an app on a cellphone to play games? If so, what games was he playing? Was he playing with zombies, pirates, with the ocean, river boats? Were you or the teachers reading him a book? If so, about what? Did he visit a place that he liked recently that he might want to go back?
I am really fed up with all the people that say: "but Avonte's picture is all over the news" and "everybody knows about him". Maybe you have seen it, but I, for one, have hardly seen it on TV, and I have cable!! As a search volunteer, I can tell you that when I go out each day, more than half the people I stop to show his picture haven't heard about him!!! One block from his school and the command post, people tell me daily that they aren't aware of him or that they thought he had been found a long time ago!
IM JUS SO CURIOUS AGAIN ABOUT THE WOMAN WHO SAID HE HAD BEEN FOUND IN TUNNEL BEFORE. AND WHAT ABOUT THE NEWS CLIP WHERE SOMEONE SAID THEY SAW A PERSON IN A UTILTY CLOSET IN LOWE EAST SIDE. HE LOOKS TO BEEN ON A MISSION WHEN HE LEFT SCHOOL. LIKE HE HAD SOMETHING IN MIND. AND SMART ENOUGH TO KNOW THE SIDE DOOR WAS OPEN AND A WAY OUT. THERE WAS AFIGHT MAYBE HE WAS TURNED OFF OR SMART ENOUGH TO KNOW IT WAS A DIVERSION MAYBE THIS KID IS NOT A KID AND HE DESPITE BEING AUTISTICE MOTHERS IS A 14 YEAR OLD NYC KID. AND TAKING IN.. PUT UR SELF IN HI SPLACE OF HAVING TO BE SUPEVISED BY PEOPLE WHO DONT SPEAK HIS LANGUAGE. AND WHAT HE IS LOOKING FOR IN RUNNING AWAY. IF HE LOVED HIS MOTHER AND WHAT WAS GOING ON WHY RUN. WHAT IS HE DOING BY RUNNING OR SAYING.OK. THE MOTHER HAS TO ASK THIS TO HERSELF.. IF U CAN GIVE ME ANY MOR E INFORMATION ON HIS PAST RUNNING AND HOW IT CAME OUT IN END. ANDN PEOPLE IT WOULD ALSO BE VERY GOOD. I DONT SEE THAT ON NEWS OR OTHER.
Great idea... the english is bad... I would love to see approval rate after 100 people use this with poor english. Yikes.
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VANESSA JUST HEARD THEY MAY HAVE FOUND AVANTE! I'm sorry if it's true, we all want to have him alive and well! My heart is overwhelmed with grief, I just can't stop crying. I'm sure in some way you needed closure for your beautiful,precious son.I have a ten year old autistic son and Avante's story brought me to follow updates every day. I wonder how you got through these three and a half months!! I would watch the video of when he left school,his mannerisms and how he walked were just like my son! I prayed for you and your family for the safe return of Avante. I cried and prayed for Avante to be safe in Gods hands. I'm always thinking about you and your family and of course Avante. God Bless!
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Jake you are very STUPID....Avonte was missing for over 2 hours before anyone from the school called the family. They had to hire a lawyer because the school would not release any information. No amount in this world will ever replace a child, BUT, going forward this school will never be this careless with another child. May you never encounter some one as stupid as YOU!
It's a very good idea to get the publlc involved, but then you have those people out there who try to fill the mother's head with more confusion and worry. I watched a video on you tube of Avante running out of the school and some idiot said whoooa he is heading for the waterway. I don't know what he was on but he was seeing something that wasn't there. My advice to everyone out there, don't mention stuff that is false that only fills the mother up with more worry. She is going through enough of a nightmare already. I'm praying for Avonte's safety!
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