Seven days of searching fails to locate missing La Porte City teen

One week into the intense search for missing La Porte City teen Jake Wilson, the frustration of not finding him was clearly evident on the faces of La Porte City Police Chief Chris Brecher and Black Hawk County Sheriff Tony Thompson. Jake, a 16-year old with autism and mild intellectual disorder, disappeared sometime around 9 PM on Saturday April 7 after leaving his home bound for Wolf Creek.

At a press conference on April 14, Brecher and Thompson declared that active search operations in La Porte City would be scaled back and the investigation command post moved to the Black Hawk County Sheriff’s office. The announcement capped a week of intense searching, aided by a phenomenal volunteer response from area residents. Over a four day period last week, more than 2,000 volunteers scoured an area covering 255 square miles in and around La Porte City.

As search efforts transitioned away from volunteers, dive teams and other professionals utilizing advanced technology spent three additional days searching for Jake to no avail. Frustrated by the lack of results the search effort had produced, Thompson said, “If not here than where? I wish I had that answer.”

“By no means are we done. This [the search] doesn’t stop,” Brecher added.

During the week, the waters of Wolf Creek were a source of great interest to searchers.

“Wolf Creek was the most plausible [explanation]. Most evidence points in that direction,” Thompson explained. With very few places left to search, investigators will aggressively pursue other explanations for Jake’s disappearance.

“We understand what our objective is, what our mission is. When we sat down with the family, they also understand,” he added.

For those wanting to help, Chief Brecher encouraged area residents to share any photos or videos taken in La Porte City on the evening of April 7.

“Just share it. Please. That’s the point where we’re at. That’s how the public can help us,” Brecher stated.

One lead investigators want to pursue is a person reportedly seen walking in the areas of Commercial Street and Bishop Avenue on the evening of April 7.

“We are looking for descriptions, we are looking for confirmation on some other things that have been said,” Thompson stated about the person of interest.

Anyone with information about Jake Wilson’s disappearance is urged to call 319-342-2232.