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Monday marks 3 weeks since 11-year-old Ryan Larsen vanished in La Vista

KETV Omaha logo KETV Omaha 6/7/2021
a person posing for the camera: larsen © Police larsen

ABOVE: Officials gave a briefing on June 1. This was the last press conference

Monday marks three weeks since 11-year-old Ryan Larsen vanished in La Vista.

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Larsen, a missing 11-year-old with autism, vanished after walking out of school May 17.

Investigators have announced FBI experts in Omaha and in Quantico, Virginia, are analyzing surveillance video and working to enhance it. The videos have not been made public.

"These are not available for public release, and we are not providing additional comment on the nature of those videos; these are part of our investigation," the release states.

Officials clarified that the last confirmed sightings of Larsen were on May 17. La Vista Keno captured him on video around 1:30 p.m. and a resident at Southfield Apartments witnessed him in that area soon after.

La Vista police to concentrate on searching areas closer to Ryan Larsen's home

Last week, La Vista Police Chief Bob Lausten said officers are moving back to “ground zero," referring to the search in the neighborhood around Ryan Larsen’s home.

Around 50 officers conducted an extensive search of the area north of Harrison between approximately 78th and 84th streets.

“Leads have been few and far between,” he said.

He said three different cadaver dogs and all hit again on Saturday at Walnut Creek Lake.

"Over and over, and difficult searching it in. We had a dog back again, we're not going to go back every day with a dog because, if a cadaver hits or smell something there, it's always going to be there. So there's something in Walnut Creek, but again it's just such a pile," he said.

Lausten said of a reward, "we'll probably need to go down that road." But, he said, they have not formalized anything yet.

He said there is still nothing to suspect there is a criminal element to the investigation yet.

Asked when the investigation turns to recovery, Lausten said, "Again we’re two weeks out now, if Ryan is out there, I don’t know... it’s been two weeks."

"When it gets to the point where nobody's seen him. We have him on video roughly 1:40 in the afternoon Monday, May 17, and we don't see him after that. Nobody's seen him...I don't know what to say about that," he said.

Lausten said they are not dialing back search efforts yet.

'Please be kind': Sister of Ryan Larsen says mom is 'barely getting by,' says criticism hurtful

The sister of missing 11-year-old boy Ryan Larsen took to social media last week to defend her family and tell the public that criticism has been hurtful.

She began the post by thanking those supporting the search effort, but quickly moved on to a message for those criticizing the family.

"I don’t think some people realize how bad it hurts to read these posts and comments about us. For those criticizing our choices, I hope this is something that never happens to your family. We have been told since day one to stay out of the media and off social media. I didn’t get why at first, but now I see how mean people’s words can be and how easily our words can be twisted," Taylor Larsen wrote on a public Facebook group. "The things you say is just like kicking someone when they are down. Trust me, we are doing everything we possibly can to bring Ryan home."

Taylor said that it feels like the family has to post something to prove they care.

"Of course we care for Ryan. My mom is broken right now because Ryan is her life. She shouldn’t have to be in the media and on social media apps to prove that she needs him. She is barely getting by. So please before you decide to post something, think about how you would feel if this happened to someone you loved. Please be kind. Thank you for all the prayers and don’t give up on Ryan. He is strong and he will come home," she wrote.

Rumors and unconfirmed social media posts have plagued the search for Ryan Larsen, who has been missing since May 17 after walking out of school.

On May 25, La Vista Police Chief Bob Lausten said he is aware of rumors swirling on social media. He said these are false and "disgusting."

"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. Any information that's going to come about this case is going to come from the La Vista police department," he said. "We continue to search."

Lausten said Larsen's family "has been nothing but cooperative."

Several days later, a release stated, "We ask all to continue to respect the privacy of Ryan’s family and loved ones. We are updating them frequently on our search for Ryan, and they are understandably fearful and concerned. Please be understanding of their decision regarding public comments or lack thereof."

La Vista police examining missing person case in Indiana similar to Ryan Larsen's

Lausten also said La Vista police are examining the case of a missing 12-year-old autistic boy from Hammond, Indiana. Kyrin Carter's body was found after he was missing for more than a week.

Lausten said investigators are sharing notes comparing the cases to see if there is anything in that case that could help them find Larsen. He noted bodies in the water usually surface after three or four days but the boy in Hammond was found later. He said the water temperature, only 65 degrees, kept the body under longer.

Lausten said the water temperature in Walnut Creek Lake is 65 degrees as well.

He said there's an underwater drone-type device that investigators in Hammond told them about and they may try to use that.

Lausten asked that people refrain from calling in tips that they got "from their friend on Facebook," or from a "psychic from Detroit."

"We've come across a lot of tips. A lot of people are out there giving us information. Some of it's good, but honestly, if you heard it from a friend who saw it on Facebook... we are getting a lot of stuff that's really taking us in some wild directions, we really need to narrow it back," he said.

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