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Search for missing 11-year-old continues into day five


On Friday, the search for 11-year-old Ryan Larsen entered its fifth day.The Nebraska State Patrol issued an Endangered Missing Advisory for the La Vista boy after he walked out of La Vista West Elementary on Monday around noon.Authorities say Larsen has autism. He’s described as being 5 feet, 8 inches tall, around 125 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes. Ryan was last seen wearing a black jacket, blue jeans, an Old Navy shirt and had a polka-dotted umbrella.If you have any information on his location, call 911.Latest DevelopmentsFriday evening:Numerous law enforcement agencies are continuing to search for Ryan Larsen, who has not been seen since Monday, May 17.According to a news release La Vista police, teams from the following joined the search for Ryan at Walnut Creek Recreation Area: Sarpy County Search & RescueNebraska State PatrolOmaha Fire & RescueYutanDes MoinesThe above agencies have stepped in to offer divers, boats, high-tech equipment and tracking K9s, according to the news release.A police K9 picked up a scent at Walnut Creek Recreation Area, but it is too early to determine if the scent is animal, human, or something else.According to police, crews began searching at Walnut Creek Recreation Area because Ryan and his family visited it. Police said Ryan previously wandered off while visiting the recreation area.Crews will be searching both land and water at Walnut Creek Recreation Area until they either find him at the recreation area or officials can rule out that he is there, police said. Officials are asking that the public find an alternate path or recreation area to use as crews continue to search the area. La Vista police uses the See It, Say, It, Send It app to gather tips. For information about the app, go to https://www.seeandsend.info.(Friday afternoon)At 3 p.m., La Vista police reiterated that the search continues to be focused on the Walnut Creek area. They said this is because it’s an area Larsen has run to before. An Omaha dive team is searching the water. They are using sonar technology to search the water as well. La Vista Police Chief Bob Lausten said there is no information to indicate there is anyone in the water, officials are just checking all the boxes.Matt Sutter, with Nebraska State Patrol, warned that the Endangered Missing Advisory for Larsen will be expiring soon, but that is only because these must expire after 72 hours. La Vista police said this does not mean search efforts will diminish. Lausten said that La Vista police have a relationship with Larsen. He said multiple officers knew him personally. “Ryan had brought us Christmas gifts at Christmas so there’s a relationship that we have, you know with him specifically, and it cuts, it cuts deep,” he said. He said there will be a focus on mental health for the officers.”These guys or gals are working their tails off on this. Sleep? What is sleep? They don’t even care about sleep, they’re there, they’re running, they’re doing everything that they need to do,” he said. Lausten said he is worried that Larsen has become stuck somewhere where he was hiding. He said that officials will notify the public as soon as possible if Ryan is found. FULL PRESS CONFERENCE BELOW:(Friday morning)There were no new sightings on Larsen as of Friday morning. Authorities were guarding the entrance to Walnut Creek Recreation Area. Lausten told KETV that the area is “one of the best leads they have” in the search for Larsen. “We know there have been cases, our FBI partners have told us, they’ve had missing kids with autism that have been out for seven days and they’ve been found alive and everything has been okay,” Lausten said. Lausten said the search stretching into next week is a real possibility. La Vista police said they do not need any more volunteers, but asked that people consider donating to the Salvation Army or the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.(Thursday evening)Officers went door to door to hand out flyers as the search continues for a fourth night. Law enforcement leaders say this is not the first time Ryan has wandered off, but they say he’s never been gone this long.Thursday evening, a police officer who said he has known Ryan for two years spoke with KETV NewsWatch 7’s Abbie Petersen.According to officer Stuart Nadgwick, Ryan had a lifesaver bracelet to track him up until February.Nadgwick fights back tears as he talks about Ryan.”Ryan is a good kid. He has gotten to know a lot of officers from our department. At Christmastime he will make ornaments for the department and then bring them to the department. He has a big heart,” Nadgwick said.Nadgwick met Ryan when the child became a member of Project Lifesaver, a program designed for those who have a risk of wandering.According to Nadgwick, over the course of those two years, Ryan wandered multiple times.”A majority of the times that Ryan had wandered, he was located in a relatively short distance where he had wandered from,” Nadgwick explained.He added that Ryan has multiple triggers that make him wander.This has happened from his apartment, a park and even school before. He likes to hide behind things, like trees, but when approached, made himself available.Now having him gone this long is heartbreaking for everyone.”Over the course of those two years, you get a friend with him. We’re talking about a 11-year-old boy who has challenges brought on by disabilities,” Nadgwick added.The good that Nadgwick has seen in Ryan outweighs any negative situations he’s been in with Larsen.”He is a good kid. He is a good kid and I know there are a lot of people worrying for him right now and if he has the ability, then it’s time to come home,” Nadgwick said.He also said that at this point, Ryan has to be cold, wet and hungry. Police want to get him home safely. Anyone who sees Ryan is urged to call 911.(Wednesday evening)As of Wednesday night, the FBI and representatives from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children were also at the scene to help with the search.”We’re pulling in all the resources that we can,” Lausten said. “They’ve had cases before even with kids with autism have left and they’ve been found. … With the experts that we have, we have a pretty good idea of what we’re doing here and what we need to do.”The City of La Vista announced Wednesday afternoon they did not need any more volunteers. They said there had been no sightings and asked the entire Omaha metro to be on the lookout for Larsen.Larsen had searched ‘how to hide from police’La Vista Police Capt. Jeremy Kinsey said detectives are working with the family and searched their computer. Kinsey said they found searches Larsen made regarding, “hiding from the police,” “hiding underground” and “how to avoid being spotted.”Kinsey said Larsen is very “high functioning,” has a history of running away and history of hiding.”He likes to hide in the weirdest spots,” he said. “He could very well be watching us right now, laughing at us.”He said Larsen has a history of not liking to be spoken to, especially by strangers. Kinsey said there is no reason to believe Larsen has been abducted or that anything suspicious is going on.”He’s playing the ultimate game of hide and seek on us now and he’s winning,” he said.Kinsey asked that people be kind on social media and not bombard officers with speculation.“I promise you we’ve thought of checking trash cans and parked cars,” he said.”There’s no playbook for an 11-year-old autistic that likes to hide and runs away,” said La Vista Police Chief Bob Lausten.How Larsen walked away from schoolAnnette Eyman with Papillion La Vista Schools says he was transitioning from one room to another classroom and a teacher noticed within about 5 minutes he was gone.There are no surveillance cameras on any of the elementary schools in the Papillion – La Vista School District, so checking cameras was not an option, she said. They believe he walked out of one of the school doors.”They immediately began to search the building to see where he was and then notified Ryan’s mom and the police immediately,” Eyman said. “I cant think of anything more heartbreaking as a parent or a staff member than having to look for a child.”Other informationLast sighting: Officials said Larsen walked out of school around noon Monday. A nearby business provided police with surveillance video that showed him in the area around 2 p.m. There have been no other credible sightings of the boy since.Manhole search: Around noon Tuesday, crews were zeroed in on a manhole where they had heard noises, but officials said Larsen was not inside.Info for volunteers: Officials said volunteers should search ditches and tall grass, believing he is likely tired and wanting to lay down. Officials stated that volunteers should not approach Larsen if they see him, instead they should call 911 and follow him at a safe distance. La Vista Police Capt. Jeremy Kinsey urged volunteers not to go on anyone’s private property for their own safety.”I don’t want you to be bitten by anyone’s dog, or have some knucklehead with a gun come out threatening you,” he said.He also asked people to continue to obey traffic laws.

On Friday, the search for 11-year-old Ryan Larsen entered its fifth day.

The Nebraska State Patrol issued an Endangered Missing Advisory for the La Vista boy after he walked out of La Vista West Elementary on Monday around noon.

Authorities say Larsen has autism. He’s described as being 5 feet, 8 inches tall, around 125 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes. Ryan was last seen wearing a black jacket, blue jeans, an Old Navy shirt and had a polka-dotted umbrella.

If you have any information on his location, call 911.

Latest Developments

Friday evening:

Numerous law enforcement agencies are continuing to search for Ryan Larsen, who has not been seen since Monday, May 17.

According to a news release La Vista police, teams from the following joined the search for Ryan at Walnut Creek Recreation Area:

  • Sarpy County Search & Rescue
  • Nebraska State Patrol
  • Omaha Fire & Rescue
  • Yutan
  • Des Moines

The above agencies have stepped in to offer divers, boats, high-tech equipment and tracking K9s, according to the news release.

A police K9 picked up a scent at Walnut Creek Recreation Area, but it is too early to determine if the scent is animal, human, or something else.

According to police, crews began searching at Walnut Creek Recreation Area because Ryan and his family visited it. Police said Ryan previously wandered off while visiting the recreation area.

Crews will be searching both land and water at Walnut Creek Recreation Area until they either find him at the recreation area or officials can rule out that he is there, police said. Officials are asking that the public find an alternate path or recreation area to use as crews continue to search the area.

La Vista police uses the See It, Say, It, Send It app to gather tips. For information about the app, go to https://www.seeandsend.info.

(Friday afternoon)

At 3 p.m., La Vista police reiterated that the search continues to be focused on the Walnut Creek area. They said this is because it’s an area Larsen has run to before. An Omaha dive team is searching the water. They are using sonar technology to search the water as well.

La Vista Police Chief Bob Lausten said there is no information to indicate there is anyone in the water, officials are just checking all the boxes.

Matt Sutter, with Nebraska State Patrol, warned that the Endangered Missing Advisory for Larsen will be expiring soon, but that is only because these must expire after 72 hours.

La Vista police said this does not mean search efforts will diminish.

Lausten said that La Vista police have a relationship with Larsen. He said multiple officers knew him personally.

“Ryan had brought us Christmas gifts at Christmas so there’s a relationship that we have, you know with him specifically, and it cuts, it cuts deep,” he said.

He said there will be a focus on mental health for the officers.

“These guys or gals are working their tails off on this. Sleep? What is sleep? They don’t even care about sleep, they’re there, they’re running, they’re doing everything that they need to do,” he said.

Lausten said he is worried that Larsen has become stuck somewhere where he was hiding.

He said that officials will notify the public as soon as possible if Ryan is found.

FULL PRESS CONFERENCE BELOW:

(Friday morning)

There were no new sightings on Larsen as of Friday morning. Authorities were guarding the entrance to Walnut Creek Recreation Area. Lausten told KETV that the area is “one of the best leads they have” in the search for Larsen.

“We know there have been cases, our FBI partners have told us, they’ve had missing kids with autism that have been out for seven days and they’ve been found alive and everything has been okay,” Lausten said.

Lausten said the search stretching into next week is a real possibility.

La Vista police said they do not need any more volunteers, but asked that people consider donating to the Salvation Army or the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

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(Thursday evening)

Officers went door to door to hand out flyers as the search continues for a fourth night. Law enforcement leaders say this is not the first time Ryan has wandered off, but they say he’s never been gone this long.

Thursday evening, a police officer who said he has known Ryan for two years spoke with KETV NewsWatch 7’s Abbie Petersen.

According to officer Stuart Nadgwick, Ryan had a lifesaver bracelet to track him up until February.

Nadgwick fights back tears as he talks about Ryan.

“Ryan is a good kid. He has gotten to know a lot of officers from our department. At Christmastime he will make ornaments for the department and then bring them to the department. He has a big heart,” Nadgwick said.

Nadgwick met Ryan when the child became a member of Project Lifesaver, a program designed for those who have a risk of wandering.

According to Nadgwick, over the course of those two years, Ryan wandered multiple times.

“A majority of the times that Ryan had wandered, he was located in a relatively short distance where he had wandered from,” Nadgwick explained.

He added that Ryan has multiple triggers that make him wander.

This has happened from his apartment, a park and even school before. He likes to hide behind things, like trees, but when approached, made himself available.

Now having him gone this long is heartbreaking for everyone.

“Over the course of those two years, you get a friend with him. We’re talking about a 11-year-old boy who has challenges brought on by disabilities,” Nadgwick added.

The good that Nadgwick has seen in Ryan outweighs any negative situations he’s been in with Larsen.

“He is a good kid. He is a good kid and I know there are a lot of people worrying for him right now and if he has the ability, then it’s time to come home,” Nadgwick said.

He also said that at this point, Ryan has to be cold, wet and hungry. Police want to get him home safely. Anyone who sees Ryan is urged to call 911.

(Wednesday evening)

As of Wednesday night, the FBI and representatives from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children were also at the scene to help with the search.

“We’re pulling in all the resources that we can,” Lausten said. “They’ve had cases before even with kids with autism have left and they’ve been found. … With the experts that we have, we have a pretty good idea of what we’re doing here and what we need to do.”

The City of La Vista announced Wednesday afternoon they did not need any more volunteers. They said there had been no sightings and asked the entire Omaha metro to be on the lookout for Larsen.

Larsen had searched ‘how to hide from police’

La Vista Police Capt. Jeremy Kinsey said detectives are working with the family and searched their computer. Kinsey said they found searches Larsen made regarding, “hiding from the police,” “hiding underground” and “how to avoid being spotted.”

Kinsey said Larsen is very “high functioning,” has a history of running away and history of hiding.

“He likes to hide in the weirdest spots,” he said. “He could very well be watching us right now, laughing at us.”

He said Larsen has a history of not liking to be spoken to, especially by strangers. Kinsey said there is no reason to believe Larsen has been abducted or that anything suspicious is going on.

“He’s playing the ultimate game of hide and seek on us now and he’s winning,” he said.

Kinsey asked that people be kind on social media and not bombard officers with speculation.

“I promise you we’ve thought of checking trash cans and parked cars,” he said.

“There’s no playbook for an 11-year-old autistic that likes to hide and runs away,” said La Vista Police Chief Bob Lausten.

How Larsen walked away from school

Annette Eyman with Papillion La Vista Schools says he was transitioning from one room to another classroom and a teacher noticed within about 5 minutes he was gone.

There are no surveillance cameras on any of the elementary schools in the Papillion – La Vista School District, so checking cameras was not an option, she said. They believe he walked out of one of the school doors.

“They immediately began to search the building to see where he was and then notified Ryan’s mom and the police immediately,” Eyman said. “I cant think of anything more heartbreaking as a parent or a staff member than having to look for a child.”

Other information

Last sighting: Officials said Larsen walked out of school around noon Monday. A nearby business provided police with surveillance video that showed him in the area around 2 p.m. There have been no other credible sightings of the boy since.

Manhole search: Around noon Tuesday, crews were zeroed in on a manhole where they had heard noises, but officials said Larsen was not inside.

Info for volunteers: Officials said volunteers should search ditches and tall grass, believing he is likely tired and wanting to lay down. Officials stated that volunteers should not approach Larsen if they see him, instead they should call 911 and follow him at a safe distance. La Vista Police Capt. Jeremy Kinsey urged volunteers not to go on anyone’s private property for their own safety.

“I don’t want you to be bitten by anyone’s dog, or have some knucklehead with a gun come out threatening you,” he said.

He also asked people to continue to obey traffic laws.



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