Nightly News   |  October 11, 2013

Search intensifies for non-verbal, autistic teen lost in NYC

Avonte Oquendo, 14, was last seen one week ago, skipping away from his Queens, N.Y., school. The group Autism Speaks is offering a $70,000 reward for his safe return. NBC’s Katy Tur reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> here in new york there is an all-out search under way for a boy with autism. he's nonverbal. he's been missing for days. new york police are trying to tell millions of people about him to spread the w0rd and help wide withen the search. we get the latest tonight from katy tur.

>> reporter: 14-year-old avonte was last seen on surveillance video running away from his new york city school last friday. now seven days with no sign of the nonverbal boy with autism. his dad daniel.

>> i try not to think of the worst. i still have the support of everybody.

>> reporter: today as they have done every day the boy's worn out family combed the streets with the help of volunteers. police turned over manhole covers and swept the east river . everyone hoping the rescue doesn't turn into a recovery.

>> we need leads throughout the day. we try to take them serious, call the police, call detectives.

>> reporter: now the family's search has gone national. the group autism speaks is offering a $70,000 re ward for his safe return. the group's vice president warns of the extra challenges when children with autism go missing.

>> he may not understand what they are saying. could you just imagine how he must be feeling and the anxiety? he may not be able to understand them or he may not be able to communicate back what his needs are.

>> reporter: here in new york the nypd expanded efforts to find the boy, especially here in the subway system since avonte was known to like trains. this year alone, 14 kids with the disorder have wandered and died. according to the national center for missing and ex ploited chirp. dad daniel said he's not giving up.

>> he's a fighter.

>> reporter: tonight more searching and a vigil for a young boy lost in a big city . katy tur, nbc news, new york .