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DNA on umbrella places Ryan Larsen near his La Vista home on day he disappeared

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The Rally for Ryan, where hundreds of people gathered to show their support for the ongoing search for 11-year-old Ryan Larsen, at Central Park in La Vista on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. Larsen, who is autistic, has been missing since May 17.

La Vista police say they have evidence that may place a missing boy outside his apartment the day he disappeared.

Ryan Larsen’s DNA has been confirmed on an umbrella that someone found on the grounds of the Southfield Apartments, where he lived, Police Chief Bob Lausten said. The umbrella was Ryan’s, and he was carrying it the day he disappeared, Lausten said. The weather that day was damp, and a trace of rain was recorded at Eppley Airfield, according to the National Weather Service.

Ryan Larsen (copy)


The umbrella was turned in to police three to four days after Ryan disappeared, Lausten said.

Ryan, who has autism, slipped away from classes at La Vista West Elementary School about noon May 17. His 12th birthday has come and gone since then.

Authorities already had reason to suspect that Ryan had headed home because surveillance video of someone who appeared to be Ryan placed him across the street from his apartment complex about 1:30 p.m. that day. Lausten said Ryan didn’t have a key to his apartment, but a family member was expected home about 2 p.m.

La Vista police had been hoping that enhancement of the video by the FBI would confirm that person was Ryan, but Lausten said Monday that the enhanced video didn’t provide the confirmation authorities were seeking.

Also unsuccessful was an effort to find images of Ryan in the surveillance videos of other area businesses and homes, Lausten said.

“This case has really been challenging because there hasn’t been a lot of information,” he said. “We’ve had different theories that we’ve looked at, but we’ve come up empty.”

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Nancy Gaarder helps cover public safety and weather events as an editor on The World-Herald's breaking news desk. Follow her on Twitter @gaarder. Email:

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