Ryan Larsen’s mother, lawyers argue why he should be declared dead
PAPILLON, Neb. (Nebraska) — Ryan Larsen has been missing since May 17, 2021. Now his mom, Tammy Larsen, is asking the court to declare Ryan dead.
Her lawyers, Sean Conway and Michael Duffy, said during Tuesday’s hearing on the matter that such a move is against Papillion La Vista Public Schools. Duffy said the announcement of Ryan’s death would not impact law enforcement.
“Tammy Larsen and the entire Larsen family needs to be shut down. Nearly two years ago, the Papillion La Vista school district allowed Ryan Larsen, an 11-year-old (at the time) special needs boy who has a tendency to roam, to simply walk out the front doors of his elementary school in the middle of the school day,” Conway told the media group. after the hearing. “And no one has seen him since. Law enforcement has done everything possible to find Ryan in the last 21 months, but this has not happened.”
Judge Patricia Freeman did not rule on Tuesday. Cameras were not allowed into the courtroom. Tammy sat at the table with Conway and Daffy, and Ryan’s two sisters were also present.
Tammy’s lawyers said they believe the two-year statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit against the county is about to close, so they are taking the step now.
Lawyers argued that while it is said that a person who has been missing for five years is presumed dead, courts issue death certificates earlier when known circumstances appear grim. They cited a 2019 case in which a Nebraska man was declared dead after being swept away in a massive flood that year, but whose body was never found.
Conway and Duffy proved that it’s dangerous for any 11-year-old to be alone, but especially for someone like Ryan. Tammy revealed that Ryan Larsen has autism, Tourette syndrome, and ADHD. She also said that he couldn’t swim or walk on water (several weeks after Ryan disappeared).
When her lawyers called Tammy to testify, she said the school was aware of Larsen’s needs and they were documented in the IEP.
The county made the statement when news of the potential lawsuit first broke: “This is a tragic situation. Papillion La Vista Community Schools will continue to support Ryan’s family, La Vista West Elementary School staff and students, and the community.”
Conway was asked to respond to online criticism of Tammy’s decision.
“I think for anyone who hasn’t been in the shoes of the Larsen family, who hasn’t had to deal with a lost loved one on a daily basis, it’s very hard to say that with any degree of authority. he said. “The Larsen family is hopeful that Ryan will be found. But today it was a necessary step for the Larsen family to bring to justice the people responsible for leaving school in the middle of the day.”
La Vista Police Chief Bob Lausten was subpoenaed to testify. But Tammy’s legal team dropped the subpoena after talking to Lausten and after Lausten challenged the subpoena. He said he would not testify about the details of the ongoing investigation under state law.