Who is Ryan Larsen? Nebraska autistic boy, 11, searched 'How to hide from police' before going missing
LA VISTA, NEBRASKA: An 11-year-old autistic boy has been missing since Monday, May 18, after he walked out of the La Vista West Elementary School around noon.
Identified as Ryan Larsen, the boy left the school in between classes; there are no video footage of him leaving as none of the schools in the district have security cameras. In latest developments, both the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children have entered the search which has been so far made up of local cops and several volunteers.
"We're pulling in all the resources that we can," said La Vista Police Chief Bob Lausten, adding there's no evidence that Larsen was abducted. "They've had cases before even with kids with autism have left and they've been found," Lausten said about the FBI participating in the search for the missing boy. "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 Nebraska State Patrol has also issued an Endangered Missing Advisory for Larsen, whose last confirmed sighting was at 2 pm on May 18, when he was seen at school; but tips about the search have been coming in from all over the neighbouring Douglas and Sarpy counties, reports local channel KETV 7.
Who is Ryan Larsen?
Identified as a preteen with autism, Larden is described as being 5 feet, 8 inches tall, around 125 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes. He was last seen wearing a black jacket, blue jeans, an Old Navy shirt, with a polka-dotted umbrella that he was carrying. Larsen was allegedly transitioning from one classroom to another when a teacher noticed that he was gone within five minutes, said Papillion La Vista Schools' Annette Eyman.
Due to lack of surveillance cameras, there is no way to find out where or how Larsen left the school grounds. But Eyman said "they immediately began to search the building to see where he was and then notified Ryan's mom and the police immediately. I cant think of anything more heartbreaking as a parent or a staff member than having to look for a child."
Officials have since alarmed volunteers to not approach Larsen if they see him; instead any one with a sighting or information is to call 911, and people who've spotted him should follow him at a safe distance. The boy is believed to have disappeared with his backpack but it's unclear if he was carrying normal school supplies or other things inside.
"We're obviously worried about his physical condition," said John Francavilla of the La Vista police. "He's gone three days without food and water," he added, mentioning that officers are also concerned about hypothermia and volunteers have been asked to search ditches and tall grass, as authorities believe Larsen is likely tired and wants to rest.
Missing Juvenile Update 11:05 pm. The sweatshirt in this photo is the exact one Ryan was wearing today. pic.twitter.com/Yy8Rpr42P5— La Vista Police (@lavistapolice) May 18, 2021
'How to hide from police'
Police were able to obtain Larsen's online search history that showed he had looked up "how to hide from police". La Vista Police Capt Jeremy Kinsey told the channel that detectives working with the case went through the family's computer where they found search topics like "hiding from the police," "hiding underground" and "how to avoid being spotted," all expectedly made by Larsen.
The captain said Larsen is extremely "high functioning," with a history of running away and hiding. "He likes to hide in the weirdest spots," he said. "He could very well be watching us right now, laughing at us." Larsen also does not allegedly like being spoken to, especially by strangers. Insisting there's no foul play involved in his disappearance, Captain Kinsey told the channel, "He's playing the ultimate game of hide and seek on us now and he's winning."
"I promise you we’ve thought of checking trash cans and parked cars. There's no playbook for an 11-year-old autistic that likes to hide and run away," said police chief Bob Lausten.
Hundreds of volunteers search for Larsen
The latest updates in the search were tweeted by La Vista police on Wednesday, May 19, as they revealed the search for Larsen will focus on water bodies in the area. Omaha residents were also asked to be on the lookout for the boy - with close detail to doorbell and security cameras. Hundreds of volunteers have joined the search - both adults and children. Police have alarmed them of Larsen't habit of hiding in small spaces and urged people not to go on anybody's private property just 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," said Kinsey.
Volunteers have also been asked to obey traffic laws as some are even looking into city's manholes to find the 11-year-old child. Vicky Nolan, a mother who has worked with people of the spectrum and has looked into manholes for Larsen told the channel "If you're scared, it's OK. Just come out from where are or wherever you're at. We're all worried and we just want you to be safe."