Hundreds of searchers are looking for a 16-year-old boy who suffers from autism and has been missing since Saturday evening. Police are asking the public to keep an eye out for him and have not ruled out the possibility that he was enticed away by someone.
According to the Des Moines Register, Jake Wilson of La Porte City, Iowa has last seen going for a walk to a creek. La Porte City is about 40 miles northwest of Cedar Rapids.
With no sign of the missing boy, police expanded the search radius to over 250 square miles on Tuesday. They’ve also checked the nearby creek the boy said he was walking to, The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported.
On Thursday, La Porte City Police Chief Chris Brecher said, "We have sent kayakers downstream ... to apply GPS coordinates on different log jams and different areas of interest that we want to make sure we really shake up today. The biggest thing that we're going to do is really make sure the little nooks and crannies that are possibilities ... are mapped, and we know exactly what we're going to be trying to tackle this afternoon."
While such efforts are focused on recovery of a body, police have not given up hope of finding Jake alive. Hundreds of volunteers have helped with the effort.
“I am overwhelmed,” said April Bergeson of Cedar Falls. “This is beautiful how the community has come together. There are even people from Nebraska here.”
The extra difficulty in locating Jake is that he has the mental age of a 9-year-old boy. He’s also off his medication and may run for rescuers rather than seek help. On top of that, nighttime temperatures in Iowa are stilling dropping to around freezing.
Police are asking everyone to keep an eye out, especially if Jake has been taken out of the area, and want anyone with any information on his possible whereabouts to call 911. Sex offenders in the area have been questioned.
"We're treating this as though it were a criminal situation, so that we don't misstep, so that we process very meticulously, so that we approach very methodically and very professionally," explained Black Hawk County Sheriff Tony Thompson.
Jake is 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs 135 pounds. He has dark blonde hair and hazel eyes. He was last seen wearing a dark brown zippered jacket, dark sweatpants, and cowboy boots. He is not wearing the glasses pictured below.
Please share this alert and pray that Jake is found safe! In other news, an AMBER Alert for a 22-month-old in Georgia has taken a tragic turn.