OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — It's been six months since Ryan Larsen was reported missing and La Vista Mayor Doug Kindig says the 12-year-old has not and will not be forgotten.
"There's not a week that goes by that someone doesn’t ask me about Ryan," Kindig said.
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When the Mayor first heard the news he was hopeful Larsen would be found soon because of his history with hiding, but he soon realized that wasn't the case and it's a more critical situation.
As the leader of the community, Kindig wanted to keep the residents aware but also wanted to let the police department take charge.
"It’s my job to let the citizen know we’re giving 100% maximum effort. It's my job to let the citizens know we’re missing a member of our community and that hurts us and, as the Mayor of the city, it’s up to me to make sure the rest of the city is aware we’re doing everything we possibly can," Kindig said. "Sometimes your best leader is to stay out of the way and let the people react."
He commends the police department and all other local agencies that came to help. He says it doesn't surprise him. In the first few hours, many believed Larsen had walked out and was hiding somewhere due to his history. He says police have done everything in their power.
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"I don’t think the public probably understands what the police force was doing at a very soon time. Obviously their investigation isn’t going to be shared word for word with the public but I think every aspect on what could’ve happened to Ryan was being investigated from a very early time," Kindig said. "I don’t think they could’ve reacted any different it’s just some things weren’t told to the public obviously for very obvious reason."
Kindig says while the response from first responders makes him proud, what truly warms his heart is the way community members jumped in to help. Hundreds of residents came out to help search for Larsen.
"If there’s anything that can warm your heart throughout all of this it’s the outpouring of support from the community," he said.
He adds that while they will never truly understand what the Larsen family is going through, the city is right there with them and will continue to support them any way they can.
He says Larsen will have a lasting impact on La Vista.
"Sometimes tragedy pulls you together and I think that’s what happened."