Parents hope Schumer's proposed Avonte's Law will become reality - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Parents hope Schumer's proposed Avonte's Law will become reality

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Alex Siri, 15, has autism and is considered nonverbal. Alex uses an iPad program to let others know what he wants or how he is feeling. Alex's father is hoping his son will also benefit from a new bill proposed by Sen. Charles Schumer. If passed, Avonte's Law would use federal money to pay for a voluntary program to help police locate missing at-risk autistic children using GPS tracking devices.

The proposal is named for Avonte Oquendo. The 14-year-old boy ran away from his Long Island City, Queens, school in October and was found dead earlier this month in the East River. Schumer made the announcement Sunday with Avonte's mother by his side. Schumer said it would be similar to a federal program that tracks seniors with Alzheimer's disease.

Just weeks before Avonte disappeared, Alex wandered away from his Upper East Side apartment. Luckily, he was quickly found.

Project Lifesaver is a similar private program already doing this for at people at risk.

"If the person goes wandering, each bracelet has a separate frequency in it, a radio frequency, they can tune their receivers, which they've been trained to use, go into an area, locate that radio signal, track to the person, locate them, and bring them back home," Gene Saunders, the CEO and founder of Project Lifesaver International, told Fox 5 via Skype.

Until Alex gets such a device, his dad has tagged his shoes with his name and address and hopes Alex never needs that again.

More than 200 mourners attended Avonte's funeral Saturday.

Investigators are still trying to determine how he died.


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