Ryan Larsen search: La Vista Police ask family’s privacy be respected as agencies continue efforts
LA VISTA, Neb. (WOWT) — La Vista Police reported no new developments Thursday in the search for Ryan Larsen, the 11-year-old boy with autism who has been missing for 11 days, but reiterated that multiple agencies were continuing to review and analyze surveillance video.
“Due to the time that has passed without any sign of Ryan, investigators are exploring all possible scenarios, as we do with all missing-persons cases,” LVPD said in an afternoon news release. “While we are grateful for the countless tips and sighting reports we have received from the community, no other sightings have been confirmed to have been Ryan Larsen.”
Authorities consider Ryan an Endangered Missing Person. LVPD said they are continuing to work with the FBI — in Omaha and Quantico, Va. — Nebraska State Patrol, as well as other local, state, and federal agencies. According to the release, LVPD will continue to partner with those agencies “until Ryan is found and his case is closed.”
The search officially moved away from Walnut Creek Recreational Area on Wednesday, but authorities noted they would return to the area should any further information lead back there.
LVPD asked for the family’s privacy to be respected.
“We are updating them frequently on our search for Ryan, and they are understandably fearful and concerned. Please be understanding of their decision regarding public comments or lack thereof,” the release states.
LVPD also requested the public’s support for Project Lifesaver, noting the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office had received 13 requests for bracelets since Ryan went missing.
Monday May 17: La Vista Police ask the community’s help to find Ryan Larsen, an 11-year-old La Vista boy with autism, last seen that day leaving La West Elementary at noon. A neighbor at the apartment complex where his family lives later reports seeing Ryan there shortly after he left school. Nebraska State Patrol issues an Emergency Missing Advisory for Ryan.
Tuesday May 18: LVPD responds to two possible sightings of Ryan, including one near the La Vista Library.
Wednesday May 19: LVPD asks for federal assistance in the search for Ryan. The FBI and FEMA become involved in the case.
Thursday May 20: LVPD a caution tape perimeter around Walnut Creek Lake in Papillion to discourage groups from gathering there as authorities focus their search for Ryan there. In a news conference that night, Police Chief Bob Lausten urges the public not to speculate or share rumors, saying it does more harm than good.
Friday May 21: La Vista Police reveal that K9 units picked up a scent of some kind at Walnut Creek Recreational Area, but Lausten says authorities are still searching in other places, too. Nebraska State Patrol says in a news conference that the Emergency Missing Advisory regarding Ryan would expire as it’s been in place for 72 hours. Local, state, and federal agencies continue to assist with the search.
Saturday May 22: LVPD tells 6 News that the recreational area would remain closed another day as teams continued to look for Ryan. 6 News observes crews from Benington, Waterloo, and Yutan coming in along Turkey Road to assist with the search. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children website displays a “missing” poster of Ryan. LVPD later reveals that the Papio Natural Resources District began lowering Walnut Creek Lake around 7 p.m.
Sunday May 23: La Vista Police reveal that dive teams finished preliminary searches in the area Saturday night, noting that lowering the creek levels “will give search teams better physical and visual access” to the water. Police also passed along resources from Project Harmony to help families talk about Ryan’s disappearance with children.
Monday May 24: In a news conference, Chief Lausten says K9 officers have given three indications. Noting that they could have picked up an animal or human scent, or something else, the chief says multiple dogs had hit in the same area — “one Friday, one Saturday, and one (Monday)” — so search efforts become focused on the northeast end of Walnut Creek. Divers are able to access that area, but Ryan isn’t found.
Tuesday May 25: Authorities had no new information to share Tuesday on the search, but said they believe Walnut Creek Recreational Area has been thoroughly searched.
Wednesday May 26: La Vista Police says they are focusing search efforts on surveillance video, particularly one from La Vista Keno taking the day Ryan was last seen. LVPD asks businesses and homeowners along Harrison Street, between 72nd and 96th streets, to check their security footage and let police know if they see “any sign of Ryan.”
What to do if you see Ryan
Ryan, a sixth-grade student, was last seen Monday leaving school. He is described as white, about 5 feet 8 inches tall, with brown hair and hazel eyes. At the time of his disappearance, he was wearing a black jacket, blue jeans, an Old Navy shirt, and was carrying a polka-dot umbrella.
If you see Ryan, authorities say not to call his name; instead, keep your distance and call 911. Anyone with information about his location should call Sarpy County Crimestoppers at 402-592-STOP (7867); or call 911. LVPD is also urging the public to use its See It, Say It, Send It app to submit tips, but to also “be mindful of unsubstantiated rumors circulating on this case.”
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