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‘Kids don’t go missing like this’: Police chief stumped two weeks after 11-year-old Ryan Larsen vanished

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Police in Nebraska shared the latest news in the search for missing Ryan Larsen in a press conference Tuesday.

Larsen, who is 11 and on the autism spectrum, has been missing from La Vista for over two weeks. He was reported missing after he walked out of school around noon on May 17. Initially, police indicated they believed he had intentionally gone into hiding as part of a game or a trick, but the investigation became more dire after Larsen did not re-appear and extensive searches of the area have turned up very few clues or leads.

As previously reported, Larsen is believed to have returned to his home address within two hours of leaving school on May 17, but it does not appear that he saw any of his family members at that time. Police have said they are confident that Larsen is the person seen at the apartment building in surveillance video footage from a business across the street. A witness also reported seeing the boy near the building that afternoon.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, investigators have extensively searched the Walnut Creek recreation area where Larson, who is high-functioning, was known to spend time. At a press conference Tuesday, La Vista Police Chief Bob Lausten said that cadaver dogs have picked up on a scent in the water multiple times, but that investigators have not found any human remains. Lausten said investigators will now focus the search at “ground zero” — where Larsen was last seen, near his home.

At the news conference, as KSNB reports, Lausten communication his department’s frustration and concern over the mystifying disappearance, and said that investigators are not treating the case as criminal at this time.

“Maybe he holed himself up somewhere or is with somebody … But, if he’s out there alone, it very well could be a recovery effort.

“Kids don’t go missing like this. It’s unusual. It’s all hands on deck.”

CrimeOnline will continue to update this developing story.

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