LA PORTE CITY — Authorities have released a new tool in the hunt for a missing La Porte City teen with autism.
On Friday, officials announced they have set up a website where people can submit their photos and videos taken April 7, the date 16-year-old Jake Wilson went missing.
“People can upload their photos and videos taken anywhere in La Porte City on that day,” Black Hawk County Sheriff Tony Thompson said in a news release.
“With the bike ride, we had a class reunion here, we are asking them to go in, log in and then upload your videos, upload your photos,” he said. “That’s going to help us catch even that much more data, that much more information.”
The website is fbi.gov/laportecityiowa.
“It’s not just an ask. It’s a demand,” Thompson said. “That’s how critically important this is.”
Wilson last was seen last Saturday night when he said he was going to nearby Wolf Creek around 8:30 to
9 p.m. and would be right back.
His family called authorities when he failed to return, and the following days brought hundreds of volunteers, professional searchers and investigators to look for Wilson.
Ground operations continued Friday with about 100 trained searchers, most of them working their way along the creek and the Cedar River, clearing log jams.
La Porte City Police Chief Chris Brecher said dive teams are checking “these deep holes and low spots.”
He said officials hope to use a remote-controlled water vehicle in the search today.
“We’ll have a lot of ability to really negotiate the water and utilize a new type of sonar mechanism,” he said.
Thompson said nothing in the investigation has led them away from the water.
“Nothing that we have had evaluated negates a story involving the water,” he said. “Nothing that we have evaluated indicates anything other than a resolution that revolves around the water.
“However, the more we check the water — and the water is not giving us any answers — the more we have to continue, like we have done from the very beginning of the investigation side, contemplate if it’s not the water, then what.
He said investigators are looking to other activity in La Porte City on the day of Jake’s disappearance.
“We are continuing to broaden our net in the investigation side. We are expanding into other calls for service in the area, calls of suspicious activity,” he said.
Wilson is about 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs about 135 pounds, with hazel eyes and dirty blond hair, his mother said. He was wearing a dark brown zip-up jacket, dark sweatpants and cowboy boots.
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He has autism with a mild intellectual disorder and functions as a 9-year-old, according to his mother.
Anyone with information is asked to call Black Hawk County Dispatch at (319) 291-2515.