DNA tests confirmed that the body parts that washed ashore last week belonged to Oquendo, but a spokesperson for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said a cause and manner of death haven’t been determined.
Oquendo was captured on video surveillance leaving his Long Island City school on Oct. 4, 2013, and his disappearance spurred an intense investigation and nationwide news coverage. Early in the investigation, bloodhounds tracked Oquendo’s scent to the edge of the East River, but lost it. The NYPD searched the river multiple times, but didn’t discover any trace of the 14 year old, who police say had a fear of water.
The family’s lawyer, David Perecman, said the large Fruit of the Loom underwear the boy was wearing could be an indication of foul play, as the underwear weren’t Oquendo’s size or brand. However, other clothing found on the body parts, a striped shirt, black Air Jordans, and black jeans, do match what Oquendo was wearing the day he disappeared.
The family has filed a lawsuit against the school and New York for losing track of the special needs teen.