Authorities Confirm Found Remains Are Jake Wilson
Remains found by recreational kayakers near La Porte City earlier this month are those of Jake Wilson, authorities confirmed on Wednesday (Aug. 29, 2018).
Wilson is the autistic 16-year-old who went for a walk near Wolf Creek on April 7 and didn't return home. His disappearance sparked a massive search involving hundreds of volunteers, as well as dozens of local, state and federal investigators.
"So, we've answered the first big question of 'Where is Jake Wilson?'," Black Hawk County Sheriff Tony Sheriff said. "From here, we still don't have the answers of 'What happened to Jake Wilson?' or how he ended up where he did."
Because of those unanswered questions, Thompson said the investigation remains open. He is glad to be able to bring one of part of the probe to a close.
"We've done all that we can to bring Jake home," Thompson stated. "I think at this point that big weight is a little bit off of us so now, we'll start working the slow and methodical pieces of how we put the rest of this investigation together. We may never have those answers -- that's a frustration we're going to have to live with every time we look the family in the eye."
Wilson's remains were found in and around Wolf Creek on Aug. 8, in an area that authorities said was searched up to 30 times in the weeks following his disappearance. La Porte City Police Chief Chris Brecher wasn’t sure why the remains hadn’t been found earlier, but he believes the creek's current kept investigators from locating him.
“The entire time we’ve been in this creek, the conditions have always changed inside this creek," he said. "Where you see a sandbar at one point, at another point it’s no longer there. Everything shifts in the bottom of this creek."
According to Brecher, the remains were discovered in a remote area, about a mile downstream from the railroad bridge on the north side of La Porte City. He said the cause and manner of Wilson's death remains undetermined.
"We can't comment to that at this time; it's still an ongoing investigation," Brecher said. "There're things that aren't complete yet. We hope with continued analysis, we hope to at some point get that answer."
Jake's father talked to reporters following Wednesday's news conference.
"Finally got closure," Mike Wilson said. "Jake's at peace, he's in heaven, no more suffering for him at all. He's not suffering, he's with God, God's taking care of him. He's looking down, probably joking around saying 'Dad, I wish I could go fishing with you again.'"
Jake's grandfather also spoke with the media.
"I am glad they (investigators) are going to continue and keep their eyes open -- but at this point, we are going to lay Jake's memory to rest and in a good light -- because he was a good man," Bruce Wilson said. "You know we are at peace, we're at peace. And it's always going to be rough for a long time, forever maybe. Some day we'll have the answers, we know that."
Mike and Bruce Wilson are planning to hold a memorial service for Jake this weekend. The event is scheduled to start at 11 AM Saturday at Candeo Church, 1405 Greenhill Road in Cedar Falls.
Funeral arrangements for Jake Wilson are also set. According to his obituary, a service of remembrance will be held at 2 PM on Oct. 7 in the Union High School Gymnasium in La Porte City. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that memorials be directed to the family at Cedar Valley Bank and Trust in La Porte City. Inurnment will be at a later date at West View Cemetery in La Porte City.
La Porte City Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.