Hundreds of volunteers have been helping police search for a missing teenager who is autistic around the northeast Iowa town of La Porte City.
The parents of 16-year-old Jake Wilson say he went for a walk to a nearby creek Saturday night and failed to return home. Black Hawk County Sheriff Tony Thompson spoke with reporters shortly before noon today.
“At this point, we still have no good lead…no strong information that drives us in a particular direction,” Thompson said. “So, we’re still canvassing in a very large scope and a very wide net.” The wintery weather has added to a sense of urgency in the case.
“The first night was 13 degrees and (Sunday) night there was a blanket of snow,” Thompson noted. La Porte City Police Chief Chris Brecher said they’re still searching the creek, but volunteers are also fanning out in fields and wooded areas with ATVs and snowmobiles.
“We are doing some more…open area searches,” Brecher said. “In the five or six mile radius that we are heavily targeting, this is kind of the last step in knowing for sure that we’ve exhausted all of our options in our current radius.” The search of Wolf Creek and the Cedar River involves a sonar device.
“There’s a lot of timber that surrounds Wolf Creek, there’s a lot of trees that have fallen, and this is a flood plain,” Brecher said. “So, it’s not uncommon for the creek to rise significantly and when that happens, you get logjams throughout the creek.”
Sheriff Thompson said there’s no evidence yet to indicate foul play or that this might be a criminal case.
(Photos courtesy of Elwin Huffman, KOEL, Oelwein)