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Lake at Walnut Creek Recreation Area lowered to aid search for La Vista boy

Lake at Walnut Creek Recreation Area lowered to aid search for La Vista boy

Authorities on Sunday were lowering the lake at Walnut Creek Recreation Area in an effort to find a missing 11-year-old boy.

Ryan Larsen


Ryan Larsen, who is on the autism spectrum, has been missing since Monday. Authorities and volunteers have searched the sprawling park for days, hopeful of finding him there because he was familiar with the area. But on Saturday night, divers concluded their preliminary search of the lake, according to the La Vista Police Department.

La Vista police said the lower lake level will give searchers, either by diving, boat or from the air, a better visual sense of what’s along the shore. The lake has lots of debris, such as tree limbs and tires, that has made the water search difficult. More than half a dozen agencies have provided divers, police said.

The lake was to be lowered a few feet, according to the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District.

Search teams, first responders and volunteers from more than 15 area law enforcement agencies and fire departments have joined the effort to find Ryan. La Vista police have also enlisted the help of the FBI, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and a private consultant in the search.

Authorities thanked the public for staying away from the popular park over the weekend because that made it easier to search. Authorities continue to ask for the public’s help in searching private property, including in sheds, beneath decks and any place a boy might be.

Ryan has run away in the past. He was last seen Monday afternoon. He left La Vista West Elementary School near 78th Street and Terry Drive and was recorded on a security camera about 1:30 p.m. Monday.

Omaha World-Herald: Afternoon Update

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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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