Human Remains Found By Kayakers Believed To Be Jake Wilson
It appears the search for Jake Wilson has come to a disappointing end, more than four months after the autistic teenager went for a walk near his La Porte City home and never returned.
Police Chief Chris Brecher struggled to keep his composure as he opened a news conference at the La Porte City Fire Station late Thursday afternoon (Aug. 16, 2018).
"We want to let you know that we've had some findings," Brecher said in a shaky voice. "We have been able to confirm with the (State) Medical Examiner's Office that we have found human remains in and around Wolf Creek."
Authorities believe the remains are those of the 16-year-old Wilson, who's been missing since the evening of April 7, when his step-father told authorities that Jake went for a walk near the creek and didn't come back.
"We are confident that we are on the right path. We have had confirmation," Brecher continued. "What has been found is consistent with what we had been looking for."
According to Brecher, the remains were found on Tuesday by kayakers in an area downstream of La Porte City -- an area search teams had combed many times.
"We've been in a position where the weather has allowed the creek to recede substantially over the last couple of months." the police chief said. "We believe this is what allowed the kayakers that were out on the water to locate this."
Brecher refused to speculate if Wilson's apparent death was an accident or something else. He said it could take a couple of weeks for DNA testing to confirm what was found.
"We're not in a position right now to make comment on any possibility of foul play," Brecher said.
Black Hawk County Sheriff Tony Thompson said investigators are busy collecting evidence where the human remains were discovered. He urged everyone -- especially recreational kayakers -- to stay away from Wolf Creek until authorities are done processing the area.
"We have a lot of good-hearted citizens who want to come out help, volunteer, and do things," Thompson stated. "The best thing you can do for us, right now, is to stay away.
"We have a job to do," Thompson continued. "If this is Jake, it's not enough to recover him for this family. We want to know why, we want to know how, and we want to know what. We're forensically processing everything right now. We're very meticulously moving through the areas that we're working and it's a very large swath of area."
Emotions were high for family members of Wilson who attended the press briefing. At the close of the news conference, Jake's biological father, Mike Wilson, allegedly attacked the boy's step-father, Jeremy Neiswonger. The incident was witnessed by several reporters. Brecher and Thompson helped break-up the two men.
Thompson later confirmed that Mike Wilson was charged with two counts of simple assault. He was taken to the Black Hawk County jail.
Authorities also requested a no-contact order, the sheriff said.
(Pat Curtis of Radio Iowa Contributed To This Story)