Search Continues for Missing La Porte Teen, Jake Wilson

Amid the snowfall, hundreds of residents of LaPorte City, Iowa joined hands on Sunday (April 8) to search for missing teen, Jake Wilson. Below are details of the missing persons case.

At around 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, more than 200 people from neighboring communities joined the search for missing teen, Jake Wilson. Locals assembled at the fire station, and formed groups of 15 to check neighborhoods and fields surrounding the creek.

By 10:00 a.m., emergency officials informed that they had enough volunteers. The search party included officers and deputies from several departments, a Cedar Rapids search-and-rescue outfit, firefighters, and crews with Task Force 1.

Additionally, the Iowa State Patrol involved an airplane using infrared. Two drones and kayaks were also used to help look for Wilson. Black Hawk County Sheriff Tony Thompson said, “He is young, and kids can really curl up and get really small.”

Talking about the weather conditions, he added, “Any time we start contemplating weather and environmental conditions, those come into play and it makes us nervous because he’s autistic, he doesn’t process information the same way that you or I would, and so the concern enhances considerably because it’s cold, it’ windy.”

The weather on Sunday made the search difficult. Shortly before 1:00 p.m., it began snowing, which decreased visibility, and grounded the drones and aircraft.

Trained searchers planned to continue looking for Wilson through the night.

About her son’s usual go-to spot at the creek, Wilson’s mother, Megan Neiswonger, explained that he usually went to a small dam right at the end of Bishop Avenue.

When Was Jake Wilson Last Seen?

Wilson was last seen on Saturday between 8:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. He left his house to go to Wolf Creek, which is about two blocks away. When he failed to return, his family members searched for him and informed the authorities. Officials searched the creek banks and surrounding area, but couldn’t find him.

Jake Wilson

Photo: Facebook/laportecitypd

Neiswonger said, “It’s like he just vanished. We searched everywhere.” Wilson reportedly left his house without his glasses. His mother found them in their house overnight. Though he can see without them, she worries about how he will manage in the dark without his glasses. 

On Saturday evening, Wilson went to the town’s ice cream shop, Tootsie’s. When he returned, Wilson asked if he could visit the creek, saying that he would be back soon.

Neiswonger was sleeping at the time and added, “He just asked if he could go down to the creek, and my husband told him the directions. It’s a pretty straight shot, he’s taken it before, just never alone and hasn’t been there since summer time.”

When Wilson didn’t show up half an hour later, his family members started searching for him. Wilson’s father even took a kayak out on the creek in the dark, but couldn’t find him.

Authorities Searched Everywhere

LaPorte City police officers and firefighters searched the creek on both sides, and in both directions. Authorities from neighboring communities also helped in the search. Waterloo police got a K-9 and handler to assist.

Tim Flodeen, who has lived next to the creek for several years now, said that he didn’t hear anything on Saturday. He also checked his shed in the morning when he heard of Wilson’s disappearance.

Flodeen explained that the padlock was not broken, and upon checking his home’s security camera, he saw nothing but the footage of an official getting a tracking dog across his lawn.

Officials asked farmers who live within a five-mile radius of town to check their outbuildings and vehicles. The search for Wilson will continue on Monday at 8:00 a.m.

What Does Jake Wilson Look Like?

Neiswonger described Wilson as 5’6″ and 135 pounds. He has hazel eyes and dirty blonde hair. He was last seen wearing a dark brown zip-up jacket, dark sweatpants, and cowboy boots.

She also explained that Wilson has autism with a mild intellectual disorder. He thinks like a 9-year-old child, and will talk to or go with anybody.

Police Chief Chris Brecher said that people who want to volunteer can report to the city’s fire department.

Officials requested anyone with information about Jake Wilson or his whereabouts to contact Black Hawk County Dispatch at (319) 291-2515, or get in touch with local authorities.