Recording Of Mother’s Voice Used In Search For Missing Autistic New York Teen

Avonte Oquendo has been missing since October 4.

Walk toward the lights,” the message repeats. The hope is the teen, who is unable to communicate verbally, will hear the sound of his mother’s voice and approach the emergency vehicles. The reward for the safe return of Avonte grew this week to $77,500 , as divers joined an ever growing number of police and rescue officers from several states who have been searching for him nonstop for more than a week. What is autism? “I just need to find my son because he needs his family; he cannot fend for himself out there,” Avonte’s mother, Vanessa Fontaine, told CNN affiliate WABC last week . “This is just the hardest thing, to have your child disappear and you cannot bring him home with you,” she said. NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said he is not holding the school safety officer who was on duty when the teen ran out of the Queens high school responsible for the boy’s disappearance. When Avonte approached the front door of his school the day he disappeared, the safety agent told him to go back upstairs, Kelly said at a news conference on Wednesday. Surveillance video then showed Avonte turning and going down another hallway, and exiting the building from a side door, he said. Surveillance video provided by the police department shows that no supervisor or monitor stopped the 14-year-old when he ran out. “He is supposed to have one-to-one supervision at all times,” Fontaine said through tears. “He has the mental capacity of a 7- or 8-year-old.” Growing up autistic Police said Avonte was last seen wearing a gray striped shirt, black jeans and black sneakers. He is 5 feet, 3 inches tall and weighs 125 pounds. Missing-persons posters are being handed out, and the search has expanded to areas outside New York City, Kelly said.

GM Sandy Alderson: The New York Mets’ Future Is Now

At 23 years old, Wheeler is the youngest of that quartet. Niese is 26, and Gee and Hefner are 27. Each has a seemingly bright upside. On that note, the Mets have a couple of other young, very talented prospects they could soon add, in 20-year-old Noah Syndergaard and 23-year-old Rafael Montero, each of whom shined at New York’s home ballpark at Citi Field, during the 2013 Futures Game in July. To hold things down for next year without Harvey, the Mets might be able to round out the final spot in their starting staff with one of two veterans they signed late in the 2013 season — either Daisuke Matsuzaka, who after three poor starts as a Met, was impressive in winning his final four starts for New York, or Aaron Harang, who was fairly good over four starts after Alderson signed him in September. But Offensive Upgrades Are Sorely Needed Where Alderson will need to improve the Mets the most is in their lineup. While he praised David Wright and Daniel Murphy as being championship-caliber players, he also noted New York’s desperate need to improve at a few other everyday positions. “You can’t go into the season with three or four below average positions,” he said. “You can’t get by with multiple positions that way.” To upgrade those areas, Alderson will likely have to turn to free agency this winter, but he’s also not adverse to seeing what the open market might return for a player such as the Mets’ disappointing 26-year-old first baseman Ike Davis, who at one time showed much promise. Finally With Money to Spend Again, the Shorter Term Moves Into Focus Despite the obvious and numerous offensive holes to fill, Alderson believes New York has a good foundation on which to build. “The platform from my standpoint is not that bad,” he said. “We’ve got a decent place from which to start.” And with money finally coming off of the Mets’ books, they should be in a position to spend like they haven’t been able to in quite some time. Thus, even with Harvey set to miss the entire 2014 season, Alderson was optimistic that the winds of change will blow through Flushing sooner rather than later — and that for the first time in a long time, Mets fans can start thinking about their team contending next season instead of solely building something better for much further down the road. “I think we’re going to have enough [money] available to make significant improvements, no question about that,” Alderson said.