Autistic boy missing after walking out of elementary school might be playing ‘hide and seek,’ police say

An 11-year-old boy is missing in Nebraska, and investigators believe he may have gone into hiding intentionally.

According to KETV, 11-year-old Ryan Larsen walked out of school in La Vista, Nebraska, at about noon on Monday and has not been seen since.

Larsen, who is autistic and high-functioning, reportedly has a history of  hiding and running away. Before he disappeared, he did YouTube searches for”hiding underground,” how to avoid being spotted,” and “hiding from police,” La Vista Police Capt. Jeremy Kinsey said at a news conference, according to KETV.

Larsen is described as a while juvenile male, 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighing about 125 pounds He has brown hair and hazel eyes. Ryan was last seen wearing a black jacket, blue jeans, a shirt with the Old Navy logo, and was carrying a polka-dotted umbrella.

At the news conference, Kinsey said the boy does not like to be approached or spoken to by strangers, and if anyone believes they have spotted Larsen, to call 911 while keeping an eye on him from a distance. Omaha police are reportedly joining the search for the boy, which so far has focused on areas near Larsen’s home and school that are familiar to him.

As KETV reports, Kinsey said there is no indication of foul play at this time; the police captain appears to believe the boy is hiding somewhere. Still, investigators are aware of the high probability that Larsen does not have access to food or water since he disappeared on Monday. The boy reportedly slipped out while moving between classrooms, and a teacher noticed within five minutes that he was missing. There are no surveillance cameras at the school, according to the report.

Kinsey reportedly said that investigators have consulted with autism experts, who said the heavy search effort may be pushing Larsen further into hiding. According to KETV, authorities issued an investigation update on Wednesday that advised volunteer searchers to look in ditches and areas of tall grass, as Larsen may be tired and weak and wanting to lay down.

“He likes to hide in the weirdest spots,” Kinsey said on Tuesday. “He could very well be watching us right now, laughing at us.”

“He’s playing the ultimate game of hide and seek on us now and he’s winning,” he said.

For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast. Listen to the latest episode: