La Vista police chief responds to family’s request to declare Ryan Larsen dead

Larsen has been missing since May of 2021.
La Vista Police responded to the petition filed by the mother of Ryan Larsen tonight.
Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 10:28 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Following the news that the family of Ryan Larsen has submitted a petition to presume the boy dead, the La Vista police chief says there are inaccuracies in the filing.

Chief Bob Lausten sat down with 6 News Wednesday to provide an update on the case and set the record straight.

“You know, we’re 20 months into this, and honestly we thought that we’d find Ryan the next day,” he says.

Ryan walked out of La Vista West Elementary School on May 17, 2021. That same day, a witness saw him outside of his apartment complex. Investigators also believe he was seen on a nearby security camera, though they could never confirm it was him.

After that - what happened to Ryan Larsen remains a mystery to authorities.

“As time goes on, it gets more and more difficult, information dries up, memories change, but somebody out there knows what happened to Ryan, somebody knows where Ryan’s at,” he adds.

On January 10, Ryan’s mother, Tammi, filed a petition in Sarpy County court that would declare the boy legally dead.

Court documents indicate her intention to sue the school district, and a death certificate is necessary to do that.

“As far as who’s responsible, I think that’s for the courts to figure out,” Annette Eyman, spokesperson for the Papillion La Vista school district told 6 News Tuesday.

“It was news to us that there was a court filing,” Lausten says.

In her affidavit, Tammi Larsen claims the La Vista police told her that Ryan’s case was no longer active and that it had been moved to the Omaha Police Cold Case unit.

Lausten says that’s not accurate.

“I don’t believe that was told that way, we do have assistance from multiple law enforcement agencies on this case, I wouldn’t consider this a cold case you know using a television definition.”

Lausten says the case is still very much active, and the department is still “attempting to overcome different hurdles.”

“I don’t think we have anything we can publicly state where we’re at, we do have federal partners we’re working with that are reviewing some things as well as local agencies as well.”

Anyone with information about Ryan’s case, no matter how small, is encouraged to contact the La Vista Police Department.

6 News reached out to the family of Ryan Larsen, but has not yet received a response.