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Avonte Oquendo's cause of death still unknown, police say

Medical Examiner unable to determine Avonte Oquendo's cause of death

Investigators are unable to say definitively if 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo, whose remains were pulled from the East River in January, died as a result of an accidental drowning or was the victim of a homicide, officials said Wednesday.

"The cause of death is undetermined, the manner of death is undetermined," said a spokeswoman for the New York City medical examiner's office.

The inconclusive results come after weeks of toxicological and other scientific tests on Oquendo's remains, found last month in the waters off Queens. The autistic teen disappeared in early October from his school in Long Island City in Queens and was the subject of an intense search throughout the city.

Oquendo's remains were identified through DNA testing that compared his samples with those of his mother and some taken from his toothbrush.

Attorney David Perceman, who represents Oquendo's family, said last night in a statement that his mother has mixed feelings about the findings.

"While the report excludes gross evidence of trauma, it leaves open questions of what may have happened to Avonte that are not discernible from the body," Perceman said.


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