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Thursday developments in the search for 11-year-old Ryan Larsen

The missing boy has autism has been gone since Monday
Posted at 6:32 PM, May 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-20 22:14:18-04

UPDATED: 8:45 P.M.

It’s day four of the search for missing 11-year-old, Ryan Larsen. On Wednesday, the FBI joined the search.

Authorities are reminding the public that Ryan has a history of wandering, a behavior reported by nearly half of families of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, now working with La Vista Police. Investigators initially believed Ryan was playing ‘hide and seek’ with officers, but are now concerned he may not be able to return home on his own.

On Thursday evening La Vista Police Chief Bob Lautsen brief the press and public on the search for Larsen.

  • According to Lautsen, law enforcement officers went door to door at Ryan’s apartment complex near 84th and Harrison Streets today. K9 officers are also being utilized, trained in tracking any potential direction Ryan might have headed.
    • Investigators ask anyone living in the La Vista/Ralston/Papillion area to please check sheds, under decks, garages, in shrubs/landscaping, and to check any security cameras like RING that may have captured images of Ryan in the last few days.
  • Law enforcement officers searched Walnut Creek Recreation Area on Thursday. Volunteers canvassed this area Wednesday; officers repeated this again Thursday with all entrances blocked off in hopes a smaller number of people would be less intimidating for Ryan if he was hiding.
  • The Sarpy County Search and Rescue Team utilized boats to search water areas near the La Vista Central Park (the former La Vista Falls Golf Course at 84th and Parkview Blvd), and at Walnut Creek Recreation Area.
    • Autism Spectrum experts have shared that children with autism gravitate toward water.
  • The FBI and National Center for Missing & Exploited Children are now partnering with La Vista Police on this case. This provides additional resources to already existing efforts; for example, the recruitment of 30 experienced ERT trainees in today’s search operations.

Authorities would like the public to know that Ryan is 5'8', 125 pounds and has brown hair and hazel eyes. Also, it’s important to note that Ryan needs seizure medication.

An expert from the "National Center for Missing and Exploited Children" was on the scene Thursday afternoon. Jonathan Stewart is a retired U.S. Marshall and criminal investigator. He was with Team Adam Consultants (TAC) and brings in-depth field experience to help find Ryan.

"We can assist local law enforcement with search and rescue management, technical support, investigation strategies. That's what I just spoke to, and equipment or resources, so those are some of the things the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children can provide," said Stewart.

TAC brings other critical resources to searches like this including help for families when requested such as stress management resources, personal assistance and family advocacy services.

Remember, if you see Ryan call 911.

If you have any information that can help investigators including doorbell or surveillance video, please call La Vista police or the Sarpy County Sheriff's Office.

La Vista Police Department: (402) 331-1353

Sarpy County Sheriff's Office: (402) 593-2288

Bellevue Police Department: (402) 293-3100

Papillion Police Department: (402) 597-2035

Nebraska State Patrol: (402) 331-3333

Omaha Police Department: (402) 444-5600