LA PORTE CITY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) — Officials looking for a La Porte City teen faced a harsh reality, Saturday, scaling back some aspects of their search effort.
Jake Wilson's family said the autistic 16-year-old was last seen heading to a nearby creek, April 7. But, after seven days of searching, authorities hadn't found him.
"We're at the point of our investigation now where we are going to be scaling back, significantly," said La Port City Police Chief Chris Brecher in an afternoon news briefing.
Brecher said, going forward, authorities will only so periodic checks when tips come in.
The initial search effort to find the teen was massive. In a week's time, hundreds of volunteers marched miles in cold and mud, reaching an about ten-mile radius from town.
They checked high and low while specialized teams looked under the water. The search there largely focused on six miles of Wolf Creek. Still-- nothing.
"We are extremely confident, in the area that we have checked, we know this is where Jake's not," said Brecher. "We did everything in our power to clear this area."
Attention now largely turns to the investigation aspect of Wilson's disappearance. Was he abducted? Was a crime committed? A multi-agency group will continue to work to find answers.
"We'll take it from here," said Sheriff Tony Thompson. "That's where this investigation, that's where this operation goes from here."
Thompson again pushed for people to go online and upload video and images from the night Wilson was last seen. He hoped a lackluster start to the effort would turn around if people realized a camera may have inadvertently captured the key to cracking the case.
"We still need help," said Thompson. "We need that one piece of information. We need that one witness that doesn't think it's anything. We need that one piece of video or that one photo. That's what we need."