Ryan Larsen, a missing, autistic boy from La Vista, Nebraska, was last spotted on surveillance video at the Southfield Apartment Complex on 17th May 2021. His teacher raised the alarm after Ryan walked out of La Vista West Elementary at midday. Authorities hastily organized search efforts for the 11-year-old, hoping to find him before it got dark.
Larsen, a 5’8” boy, with brown hair and hazel eyes was wearing a black jacket, blue jeans, and an Old Navy shirt, and had a polka-dot umbrella at the time of his disappearance. He was known to hide occasionally hide from his family, so the expectation was he would be found fairly quickly. However, Ryan Larsen is yet to turn up a week after he left school on 17th May 2021.
Ryan’s parents and family are devastated as their beloved Larsen is yet to turn up
On 24th April 2021, La Vista Police Chief Bob Lausten held a press conference to give an update about search efforts for Ryan Larsen. He informed the press that Ryan’s family was distraught, with one of his sisters taking the disappearance ‘really hard.’ He said:
“They’re [the family] obviously, they’re extremely upset and one daughter is taking it really hard. I think you saw her heartfelt Facebook posts the other night, with the pictures on there. The mother, the other sisters, were just destroyed.”
After Ryan disappeared from school, the teachers notified his mom and the police immediately. “I can’t think of anything more heartbreaking as a parent or a staff member than having to look for a child,” a school spokesperson said. Authorities approached the search optimistic that they would find Ryan Larsen quickly.
They learned from the family that Ryan had a history of running away and hiding. “He could very well be watching us right now, laughing at us,” La Vista Police Captain Jeremy Kinsey said. He, however, added that they were concerned about Ryan’s nourishment and medication. He explained:
“We have a list of medications he’s on. We’ve talked to doctors about the effects of those medications, and that’s concerning, that some of the things he needs to be on. You can still survive without those meds, but it helps you cope with the different things that are out there.”
A multi-agency team has focused its search on an area identified by K9 unit dogs
In his Monday afternoon press conference, Police Chief Bob Lausten stated that search efforts were focused on areas identified by K9 units. The K9 units had singled out areas on the northeast end of Walnut Creek Lake.
Authorities had lowered the lake’s water level throughout Monday to make it easier for divers to access the lake’s lower levels. The multi-agency team is searching by foot, air, and in the water throughout the day and night. Lausten stated that they are using ‘everything you can think of’, including drones, sonar, and rakes to look for Ryan.
Ryan pleaded with people to stop spreading false information via social media as it might hamper search efforts. “There has been some chatter on social media from some keyboard warriors in basements talking about, ‘We have an arrest, we found Ryan,’ that is absolutely false,” Ryan said. “Any information that’s going to come about this case is going to come from the La Vista police department.”
“We continue to search,” he added. Lausten didn’t offer a definitive answer when asked whether they are considering foul play. “Until we find Ryan we can’t get to the point to figure that out,” he said. If you spot Ryan, you are advised to refrain from calling his name; instead, keep a safe distance and call 911.