NE RYAN LARSEN: Missing from La Vista, NE - 17 May 2021 - Age 11


Endangered Missing Advisory issued for Omaha boy​

The Nebraska State Patrol has issued an Endangered Missing Advisory for a boy with autism missing from La Vista, near Omaha.

According to a release, Ryan Larsen, 11, was last seen leaving school Monday at La West Elementary.

‘Ultimate game of hide-and-seek,’ search for missing La Vista child continues​

The Nebraska State Patrol issues an Endangered Missing Advisory for a La Vista boy.

Ryan Larsen was last known to be in the area of 78th Street and Terry Drive in La Vista around 12:00 pm on Monday.

Authorities say Ryan has autism, is an 11-year-old white male, 5′ 8″, about 125 lbs with brown hair and hazel eyes. Ryan was wearing a black jacket, blue jeans, an Old Navy shirt, and had a polka-dotted umbrella.

“We have no reason to suspect anything other than he walked away,” commented a spokesperson for the La Vista Police Department. “Right now we are just looking for a little boy who is playing the ultimate game of hide-and-seek.”

The official explained that La Vista police has dealt with Larsen before.

“He does like to hide he does like to get away, he likes to hide in small places.”

Larsen is a high-functioning child on the autism spectrum, who police say is non-verbal with anyone he is uncomfortable around. They believe he was in between classes when he slipped away from the school.

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Staff member

As search for La Vista boy continues, police say his disappearance likely not suspicious​

La Vista Police said in another update Tuesday evening they still didn’t think the 11-year-old boy they have been searching for since Monday was missing under any sort of suspicious circumstances.

Tuesday afternoon, police said the search for Ryan Larsen had reached a critical level. But with little to update in the afternoon, La Vista Police Capt. Jeremy Kinsey reiterated in a separate update Tuesday evening that Ryan was a high-functioning autistic with a history of leaving home and hiding.

Neighbors, strangers come together to search for 11-year-old with autism​

Captain Kinsey with La Vista police said countless agencies are helping in the search for Ryan Larsen.

"We have everybody just trying to help out do their part here," Kinsey explained.

For more than a day, volunteers scour the heart of La Vista with urgency. Many moms and dads from across the metro ready to act.


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La Vista police: Missing 11-year-old with autism had been searching 'how to hide from police'​

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.

A neighbor told police he thought he spotted Larsen at Southfield Apartments on 83rd Street, where he lives, around 2 p.m. Monday. Police said an area business caught video of Larsen in the area around the time of noon to 2 p.m.

Around 1 a.m. Tuesday, a group was out in the area of the golf course near 84th and Parkview Boulevard, looking for Larsen. La Vista police searched a pond in the area as a precaution. Neighbors were seen Tuesday morning checking ditches and waterways in La Vista, searching for the boy.

La Vista Police Capt. Jeremy Kinsey thanked volunteers Tuesday morning around 10:30 a.m. and said Omaha police has provided helicopter cover for search efforts.

He 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.

Kinsey said Larsen does not have a Project Lifesaver monitor. Family members say the boy used to have one but he would always cut them off.


aka Grandma Kim 💕
Staff member
My AS son used to like to do the same! And unfortunately, he never went to the same place twice, so it was really scary. The last time he took off and he hid, he was found sleeping in the dugout at the high school baseball field.


Deputized Emu Slayer/Horse Thief Hunter
My AS son used to like to do the same! And unfortunately, he never went to the same place twice, so it was really scary. The last time he took off and he hid, he was found sleeping in the dugout at the high school baseball field.
That had to be very scary, I can't imagine. What happened when he would get cold or hungry, would he come home or look for help and how long or how many hours or days until then?

I note this boy is very tall for an 11-year-old, 5'8". The searching for how to hide underground, hide from police, etc. is worrisome. Since he is verbal and is high functioning one would hope he is not one that ended up in the water.


Staff member
The search for a missing autistic 11-year-old boy in eastern Nebraska has entered its third day, and police leading the effort say the child had searched online for “how to hide from police” before his disappearance.

Police say the child has a history of hiding from his family and has a habit of hiding in small spaces. But officials say he’s never been missing for days at a time.

Search timeline​

Around 1 a.m. Tuesday, a group was out in the area of the golf course near 84th and Parkview Boulevard, looking for Larsen. La Vista police searched a pond in the area as a precaution.

Just before 10 a.m., La Vista police said a command post was being re-established at 83rd and Parkview.

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

Around 1 p.m., La Vista police asked residents who live near La Vista West Elementary to check their doorbell and house cameras going back to noon yesterday for any sign of Larsen.

At 2:30 p.m., Kinsey thanked volunteers once more and said there had been no real change in the search.

Around 5:30 p.m., Kinsey provided another update, saying it would be the last briefing of the evening. He said that autism experts have told them the heavy police presence and volunteers may be pushing Larsen further into hiding, so they may suspend heavy search efforts for the evening.

At 8:55 p.m., the La Vista Police tweeted a final update for Tuesday with no new information to share, tweeting, "Law enforcement remains on duty and will stay vigilant throughout the night."

Overnight going into Wednesday, crews searched near 69th and Giles where there had been potential sightings of the boy.

There was no news from authorities until almost noon Wednesday. La Vista police tweeted:

"Law enforcement continues to search for Ryan and there are no new updates at this time. For those wanting to volunteer today, we are going to focus our efforts on bodies of water in the area...All volunteers should meet at Walnut Creek Recreation Area at 1 p.m. in the parking lot off of 96th Street and Gold Coast Road. Volunteers will be asked to walk the trail in both directions and should dress appropriately for the weather."


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Officials concerned about hypothermia, hunger as search for missing 11-year-old stretches on​

LATEST (1 p.m. Wednesday)
  • Officials stated that volunteers should not approach Larsen if they see him, instead they should call 911 and follow him at a safe distance.
  • He did have his backpack, but officials don't know if he had any supplies or just books and normal school supplies.
  • "We're obviously worried about his physical condition," said
    John Francavilla, with La Vista police. "He's gone three days without food and water." Officials also said they were worried about hypothermia.
  • Officials said volunteers should search ditches and tall grass, believing he is likely tired and wanting to lay down.



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FBI called in to help with search for La Vista boy​

La Vista Police told 6 News on Wednesday evening that they have brought in the FBI to help with the search for 11-year-old Ryan Larsen.

The search for Ryan, missing since Monday afternoon, moved Wednesday to areas outside of La Vista. LVPD said they called on the FBI for help because of their resources and experience in looking for missing children.

Authorities believe the child has not had food or water since he went missing, and they are asking the public to check anywhere a child could hide as police and volunteers continued their search Wednesday.


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Search for missing 11-year-old La Vista boy moves to Hell Creek​

Law enforcement officers and volunteers looking for a missing La Vista boy moved their search area Thursday to Hell Creek in Sarpy County.

Volunteers were asked to meet at 11 a.m. Thursday in the parking lot of Brookhaven Park, 6576 S. 115th St., for information about the search. The search will be along Hell Creek from 110th and Harrison Streets to 110th and Giles Road.

There were from 50 to 75 volunteers searching Walnut Creek and Prairie Queen yesterday."

The La Vista Police Department has asked that people in the entire Omaha metro area be on the lookout for Ryan and check doorbell and home security cameras for signs of him.

Day 4 of search for missing 11-year-old boy​

Police said Larsen could be looking at this as a game but they are growing more and more concerned about his wellbeing since they don't know what he's doing for food and water.


Staff member

'It's OK to go home,' Neighbors leave note, water for missing 11-year-old boy​

The La Vista Police Department wants you to stay vigilant in your daily routine just in case you spot 11-year-old Ryan Larsen. Some neighbors are doing their part to hopefully encourage Ryan to go home.

At the end of his driveway, Ryan Wedekind makes a plea to the missing sixth grader.

"Letting him know that the water's for him. He's not in any trouble. He's missed. He's loved. It's OK to go home," Wedekind said.

Along with the note, Wedekind and his fiancee left water bottles, Gatorade and soda out for Ryan. They are hoping for his safe return.

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

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.


Staff member

Friday developments as search for Ryan Larsen enters fifth day​

The search for 11-year-old Ryan Larsen enters day five Friday.

Hundreds of volunteers and law enforcement officers spent much of this week searching for Larsen.

La Vista police said they're very concerned Larsen may not be able to get home on his own.

“We have a list of what medications he's on. We've talked to doctors about the effects of those medications so it's concerning with some of the things he needs to be on. You can still survive without those meds but it helps you cope with different things that are out there, and obviously, food and water at this stage is huge,” Chief Bob Lausten with the La Vista Police Department said.

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Staff member

La Vista Police call off volunteers as search for missing boy enters its fifth day​

La Vista Police called off volunteers Friday as multiple law enforcement agencies continued their search for 11-year-old Ryan Larsen, who has been missing since Monday.

In a tweet Friday morning, LVPD suggested those who want to help should instead offer their support by way of donations.

'Ryan is a good kid': Officers fear missing 11-year-old is cold, hungry as search enters day five​

There were no new sightings on Larsen as of Friday morning. Authorities were guarding the entrance to Walnut Creek Recreation Area. La Vista Police Chief Bob 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.


Deputized Emu Slayer/Horse Thief Hunter
Just rereading this one. So the only apparent sighting of him was near his home or own apartment area on the day of shortly after... No surveillance camera or human sightings since then? This is the boy who searched for how to hide from police so it seems a bit different as most of these cases, the autistic child just seems to bolt and this seems "planned"??

I don't have a point, just talking out loud and have no ideas nor any leaning in any one direction.

I will just continue to pray as this case and a few other recent autistic ones are several days in now--past where one would think the child would be okay and safe after this amount of time.


Staff member

‘We’re doing... everything we can to bring him home’: Day 5 of search for missing 11-year-old​

Friday’s search for 11-year-old Ryan Larsen focused on the Walnut Creek Recreation Park.

“There’s a lot of debris (and) vegetation if you get caught up in there,” La Vista police Chief Bob Lausten said.

But La Vista police say it’s not the only place officers are looking.

Lausten said he can’t get into those details but he did say that search teams are using more resources to try and find Ryan.

Search for Ryan Larsen leads police back to Walnut Creek Recreation Area
Friday, La Vista police say credible information led them back to the Walnut Creek Recreation Area.

Law enforcement have been using dive teams out in the water, as well as search dogs to make sure every single spot in the park is checked thoroughly.

"We know that Ryan had been there before. He had ran before when he was out there a while ago," says Bob Lausten, city of La Vista chief of police.

"I just really hope we can find him," says Katie Sheehan.

The La Vista community has put out all the stops to find Larsen.

One community member, Katie Sheehan, who also has autism like Larsen, came up with a creative idea that she hopes will bring Larsen out of hiding.

Sheehan says, "I was sitting on the couch last night and I was thinking 'okay so this kid has autism and he's probably scared so if I were to leave or go on some adventure, what would bring me home?"

Sheehan placed over 150 of these glow sticks across town.

Messages to Larsen are attached.

"They're fun, they're really pretty and all kids love them. Even I love them to this day! And they glow in the dark so he'll be able to see them," says Sheehan.

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