11 year old Ryan Larsen was last seen in La Vista, Nebraska on May 17, 2021. He walked away from his school at 11:45 am, and was last seen outside the apartment complex where he lived a few hours later.
Background of Ryan Larsen
Ryan Larsen was born on June 8, 2009 to mother Tammi Larsen. He was a student at La Vista West Elementary School and lived in the Southland Apartment Complex at the time of his disappearance.
In the past, Ryan—who has high functioning autism—has fled and hidden, but he was always discovered close to where he had gone.
He left school on his own a few weeks before going missing, and was found a few blocks away at his grandmother’s house.
Due to his propensity for fleeing, the local police dubbed Larsen “the king of hide and seek.” Ryan was enrolled in Project Lifesaver, which provides GPS tracking bracelets to the most vulnerable people. However, Ryan kept taking his off, so his mother stopped making him wear it.
Prior to his disappearance he had searched online for “how to hide underground”, “how to hide from police,” and “how to avoid being spotted.”
Disappearance of Ryan
Ryan Larsen, age 11, left La Vista West Elementary School at 11:45 a.m. on May 17, 2021.
Since he had attended one class and then skipped the next, it is assumed that he left on his own.
Ryan was living two blocks from his school at 84th and Harrison Street when a neighbor saw him at 1:30 pm outside the Southland Apartment Complex. Ryan isn’t thought to have gone inside because he didn’t have a key to his apartment.
Another neighbor in the complex discovered the umbrella Ryan was carrying the day he vanished next to a dumpster. His family claims that the umbrella held significant meaning for him because his sister, who had just moved out, had given it to him.
Investigators tested the umbrella and discovered Ryan’s DNA there.
At 1:45 pm, Ryan may have been seen on surveillance footage near La Vista Keno, but it is impossible to confirm this.
Investigation of Case
The La Vista Police Department spent countless hours looking through tips that might help them find Ryan, but after a few weeks the number of tips drastically decreased.
Authorities searched through fields and tree lines, lowered the water levels at Walnut Creek Recreation Area, and brought in landfill experts from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to sift through trash.
Ryan was nowhere to be found during the searches.
The La Vista Police Department established a new initiative called “Take Me Home” in an effort to aid the division in better preparing for situations like Ryan’s.
It is an opt-in registry designed to give the police information about someone when they go missing, particularly if they are a child, an individual with special needs, or an elderly person. Residents can submit vital data and pictures of their loved ones on the form.
Whereabouts of Ryan
The whereabouts of Ryan Larsen, and the circumstances regarding his disappearance, remain unknown.
Although Ryan’s umbrella was found in the apartment complex where he lived, investigators don’t believe Ryan went inside his apartment after leaving school on May 17, as he didn’t have a key to get inside.
Foul play is suspected in Ryan’s disappearance. His case remains unsolved.
A Caucasian male, with brown hair and hazel eyes, born on June 8, 2009. He weighs 125 pounds and is 5’8″ tall.
Ryan was last seen with a polka-dot umbrella, an Old Navy t-shirt, blue jeans, a black jacket with orange trim on the shoulders, and black New Balance tennis shoes.
If you have any information regarding the disappearance of Ryan Larsen please contact the Sarpy County Crimestoppers at (402) 592-STOP (7867), or the La Vista Police Department at (402) 331-1582.
If you see Ryan, authorities say not to call his name; instead, keep your distance and call 911.
Resources & Further Information
Ryan D Larsen – NamUs