Hundreds Light Candles For Jake Wilson In La Porte City
Hundreds attended a candlelight vigil for Jake Wilson in La Porte City Monday night (May 7, 2018).
Friends and family gathered in a field along Wolf Creek to show their support for the autistic 16-year-old, exactly one month after he disappeared from the community without a trace. Since April 7th, when Wilson went for a walk near the creek and didn't return home, thousands of volunteers and law enforcement officials have spent countless hours looking for him.
La Porte City resident Danielle Gasco helped organize the vigil as part of the healing process for the community.
“This was essential,” Gasco said. “To have this gathering for everyone was part of the process to what has happened, what we've come so far with doing, and what we're still going. This isn't the end.”
According to Gasco, the vigil was held to show support for Wilson's family and friends. The event also served as a reminder that the search and investigation into his disappearance is continuing.
“We are going to go until he's found, standing on that firm foundation that we will be unified until he's brought home,” Gasco said. “It's determination, and an appreciation for each and every one of us to keep fighting.”
Gasco admitted that she was overwhelmed – but not surprised – by the number of people who attended the vigil.
“It's breath-taking," Gasco said. "We're one. The community has come together time and time again, over and over again. They've united. When I say that they're one mind, one accord of La Porte City is just that.”
Gasco said it's frustrating not knowing what happened to Wilson, despite the efforts of all the volunteers and professionals who have spent time over the past month trying to figure out where he is.
“It's hard to move on," Gasco admitted. "It's hard to have every step of your day without thinking about it at some point. There's no closure and it's hard to process. It takes every ounce of every effort to have that emotional balance subside and live in La Porte (City) without any answers. It's urgent that we know (what happened to Wilson).”
Investigators continue to do daily searches of Wolf Creek and the nearby Cedar River, but La Porte City Police Chief Chris Brecher said after the vigil that the search effort was halted for a couple of days recently because of flooding. According to Brecher, when the high water recedes, public volunteers may be called out again to recheck some areas after they dry out.
Anyone with information on Wilson's whereabouts should call the La Porte City Police Department at 319-342-2232 or the Black Hawk County Sheriff's Office at 319-291-2515.