Police say missing Ryan Larsen case still an ‘open, active investigation’

Published: Nov. 1, 2023 at 10:24 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Wednesday, a federal judge in Omaha dismissed a lawsuit brought forward by the family of Ryan Larsen, the 11-year-old boy with Autism who went missing in 2021, against the Papillion-La Vista School District.

Although efforts made by the Larsen family to hold someone accountable for his disappearance have failed in the courts, La Vista police say they’re still working to locate the boy.

“We will keep working it until we find Ryan,” said La Vista Police Capt. Tom Armburst.

Armbrust says although the case is nearly two and a half years old now, it’s not a cold case.

“Well I don’t like to use the word ‘cold,’ but I understand the analogy,” Armburst said. “We do still follow up on leads and tips as we get them. It is not as active as it was when it initially happened, it’s been some time, a substantial period of time has elapsed, but it is an open, active investigation.”

Nowadays, Armbrust said tips and sightings are much more infrequent, but they’ve come from as far as the east coast of the U.S.

“If somebody thinks they saw someone that looks like Ryan then we’ll call that jurisdiction and ask them to follow up on it,” Armburst said.

But still, Ryan’s disappearance remains a mystery.

“It’s hard to fathom that someone could just literally vanish, especially in 2021, with how many people there are and cameras and cell phones and things like that.”

But Armbrust insists that the department has not given up hope, and they don’t plan to.

“I’m hopeful that Ryan is still alive and that Ryan is out there,” Armburst said. “That’s the message that we at the La Vista Police Department want to put out there. Until we can prove otherwise, that’s the way we are going to look at it and we want people to think that way and think in a positive manner for Ryan and his loved ones.”

Armbrust reminds the community that Ryan was 11 when he disappeared, but he’s now 13. They say photos that are shown of him may be slightly different than how he could look now.

They encourage anyone who sees a person resembling Ryan Larsen to contact La Vista Police and 911 without hesitation.

6 News has reached out to the Larsen family for comment but has yet to hear back.