surveillancevideoThe Riverdale School in Long Island City is some seriously hot water after one of their students, 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo, ran off of campus in the middle of the school day. The autistic teenager has been missing since last Friday and his family are putting blame right at the feet of the school that let their son just walk off.

DNAinfo.com reports that Avtone’s family is still holding out that their loved one is alive, despite that he can’t even speak. Despite little sleep and non-stop crying from Avonte’s mother, the family are pursuing action against Riverdale:

The family said their lawyer has filed a notice of claim with Comptroller John Liu‘s office against the school that they say had been responsible for keeping Avonte safe. The notice is the first step toward filing a lawsuit.

“It’s obvious that the school is liable,”

[Avonte's brother]

said.

He said the security guard did not prevent Avonte from leaving the school, and nobody told the family he was missing until an hour-and-a-half after his disappearance.

Further compounding this heartbreak are Avonte’s family’s suspicions that he is being held captive somewhere. While people have reportedly said that they have seen Avonte, authorities are skeptical of these claims given that they all involve alleged conversations with Avonte.

Searches, flyers, and a $5,000 reward are in place for the safe return of Avonte. Meanwhile, police are reportedly pouring over “hours” of surveillance tapes.

(photo:  Alexandre Dulaunoy)