Advertisement

'What happened to him?' From missing person case to foul play: Six months since Ryan Larsen disappeared

Have you seen Ryan Larsen?

Advertisement

The poster outside Ryan Larsen's La Vista, Nebraska, apartment complex may be tattered and torn, but six months later the message is still true. It says, "We love you Ryan."

"It's still on people's minds, which is good because we need to find him," La Vista Police Chief Bob Lausten said.

Family and police hope another half a year doesn't go by without any clues, but Lausten said now the focus has changed.

"We were working this case in the beginning as a missing person's case but now that we're six months into this, the chances for foul play really start to go up," he said.

La Vista West Elementary reported the student with autism missing at 11:45 a.m. on May 17.

Lausten said a neighbor at the Southfield apartment complex, about two blocks from the school, saw Ryan at 1:30 p.m. Other neighbors found Ryan's umbrella, which had his DNA on it, near a dumpster at the complex.

The last possible sighting was two hours after Ryan walked out the school's front doors on surveillance cameras.

Lausten said the video is from a bar showing someone matching Ryan's description near the North end of the parking lot walking back and forth between the light poles in the grassy area near a Kentucky Fried Chicken. It was 1:45 p.m. Police won't release that video because they can't say for certain that was Ryan.

"We strongly believe it's him, but it's so grainy we can't positively say it's him," Lausten said.

In the past six months, police lowered the water levels at Walnut Creek Recreation Area, searched fields and tree lines, brought in landfill experts on how to comb through mounds of trash.

They found nothing.

Lausten is calling on hunters to be on the lookout in the fields.

"Keep an eye out. You may come across clothing or bones anything like that," he said.

But with no evidence and zero sightings, Lausten goes back to foul play.

"The longer things go without finding somebody, I think you have to look at something nefarious involved with the disappearance," Lausten said. "So what happened to him?"

Ryan was last seen wearing blue jeans and a black jacket with orange near the shoulders. He has brown hair, hazel eyes, is 5 feet, 8 inches and weighs 125 pounds.

"In the Omaha area, when is the last time a child has disappeared like this? It just doesn't happen. It doesn't make sense," he said.

If you have any information, call one of these numbers:

La Vista police: 402-331-1582

or Sarpy County Crimestoppers: 402-592-STOP, 592-7867.