DAY FIVE: Public volunteers no longer needed in efforts to #Brin - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

DAY FIVE: Public volunteers no longer needed in efforts to #BringJakeHome

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Investigators searching for a missing teen with autism say the operation will change heading into Thursday, day five.

Jake Wilson, 16, was last seen leaving his La Porte City home Saturday night around 9 p.m.  He was wearing a brown jacket, blue sweatpants, and cowboy boots, but left without his glasses that he normally wears.

Jake told his step-dad he was walking to the nearby Wolf Creek, but he never returned.

Wednesday afternoon, La Porte City Police Chief Chris Brecher says they will no longer need public volunteers moving forward.

"It is going to be very targeted searches from here on out. I can't reiterate that enough, the search is still going on," said Chief Brecher. "We want to thank the public from the bottom of our hearts for the extreme support and huge turnouts we have had. You are the reason we have gotten to this point in the investigation so quickly."

Over the last four days, volunteers have numbered nearly 900 on day one, 400 on day two, 500 on day three, and over 300 on Wednesday.

The hundreds of volunteers combed 250-square miles of land in and around La Porte City.

Taking over, specialized teams will be focusing on water searches along the creek, and into the Cedar River.  Others will continue targeted searches on land.

Meanwhile, investigators continue to close the gap of "what ifs," pin-pointing Jake's timeline.

"He walks out the back door and we just don't know. I can tell you where he wasn't. I can tell you two houses down, he didn't go that way. I can tell you three blocks this way in front of an auto part store, chiropractor's office, whatever; I can tell you where he is not, so that also helps tell me where he was," said Black Hawk County Sheriff Tony Thompson.

KWWL has learned that there was an annual bike ride that started and ended at a nearby La Porte City bar the night Jake went missing.  There were about 300 people who participated. KWWL spoke with staff.  They say, unfortunately, they didn't see Jake.

"It was a firefighter event, so a lot of them are here. Not only have we pulled video, but again, a lot of them were here. So we have been able to get an 80% solution," said Sheriff Thompson. 

But the question remains, where is Jake Wilson? A continued nightmare for the family.

"This is a harder day because there is a contemplation of failure, and that is not at all the case," said Sheriff Thompson, when asked how the family was holding up.

Both Sheriff Thompson and Chief Brecher stressed that the shift in tactics was standard.  They say because of the tremendous turnout from volunteers, experts are now able to focus their efforts in targeted locations.

Sheriff Thompson says the best thing the public can do now is continue to share Jake's image and watch for him.

If you have any information on Jake, law enforcement is asking people to call the La Porte City Police Department at 319-342-2232 or the Black Hawk County Sheriff's Office at 319-291-2515.

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