MISSING IN KANSAS: Search for Alex LaRussa
The disappearance of Alex LaRussa has puzzled investigators in Saline County.
His mom, Kelli Couch, said she was glad to see him more often. He had moved from Great Bend to Salina after an incident that led to his leg being amputated. It was a devastating change.
“He was a lot of pain to physical pain from that,” Kelli said. “And that's again, why he moved back to this area. I got involved in his life again, and started to build a relationship with him again.”
Kelli briefly saw Alex on Dec. 8, 2017 – the day he vanished. She said it’s unusual for months to have gone by with no contact with her son. When Alex wasn’t there for Christmas, she believed something terrible happened.
“It's really it's really not good to not have any answers,” she said. “You know, don't know anything. Yeah, absolutely nothing except for rumors.”
Alex had gone through a tough year. Here’s a timeline of events we’ve been able to confirm with Salina Police.
July 4, 2017: On July 4, he ended up hurting his leg and needed it amputated. Not long after, he moved from Great Bend to Salina.
Dec. 8, 2017: He was last seen on this day. He visited his mom and was near a Wal-Mart at one point. Around 9:30 p.m., he was in an area of Iron and Ohio and drove a tan 2004 Ford Explorer with Kansas tags.
Jan. 14, 2018: The vehicle Alex was driving was found on a farm in New Cambria, Kan., in northeast Saline County. Salina Police Det. Andrew Ziegler confirms a cell phone, clothing and wheelchair were found in the vehicle, among other items.
Since then, Ziegler said the department has conducted ground searches to find Alex, yet they have not been able to find him. Alex’s family fears foul play.
“It was like he was just ripped out of my life,” Kelli said. “It's been like an awake nightmare. You know, it's a…it's a living nightmare almost every day.”
She and her mom, Colleen Greenemeyer, like to think positively. They say that while Alex may have had a troubled past, he’s a good guy at heart. He’s dearly missed by them and his two brothers, who are hoping to get answers.
“He was kind of funny, you know friendly,” Kelli said.
“And lovable,” his grandma Colleen echoed.
“Yeah, he was real loveable,” Kelli said.
Some of the hardest times for Kelli are when she’s driving around town and sees someone who resembles Alex. Other times, she’ll see a pile of brush or something where Alex could be hidden. It makes some days unbearable for her and Colleen.
"That's all you think about all day, every day, all day,” Colleen said. “It never goes way never goes out of your head. No matter what you're doing. Even when you're with other people. It's just always right there, and it's very painful.”
“And that's what's been the hardest thing is to try to accept that I don't ever…I don't get to tell him bye. I don't get to tell him. I love you anymore,” Kelli said.
Police and the family believe someone knows exactly what happened to Alex. They’re hoping that person will come forward so they can find him.
“I don't even care if it's an anonymous letter,” Kelli said. “We just want to know where he is, or his remains are, so we can have a funeral or some type of service to have some closure.”
Investigators continue to piece together clues behind what happened to a man last in December 2017 in Saline County.
Alex Michael LaRussa has been missing since Dec. 8, 2017. He was last seen on during the late evening hours that day near Ohio and Iron in Salina. LaRussa was driving a gold 2004 Ford Explorer with a Kansas license plate, said Salina Det. Andrew Ziegler.
On January 14, 2018, LaRussa’s vehicle was located in rural northeast Saline County. Nobody was in the vehicle.
ALEX MICHAEL LARUSSA
Missing from: Salina, Kansas
Missing since: Dec. 8, 2017
Reported missing: Dec. 15, 2017
Age then: 25
Weight: 175 pounds
Other identifying marks: Numerous tattoos and is missing his left leg
If you have information that could help in the case, you’re asked to call Salina/Saline County Crime Stoppers at (785) 825-TIPS or Det. Andrew Ziegler at the Salina Police Department at (785) 826-7210.
KAKE News will feature the story of a missing person every weekday in our newscasts at 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. If you have a person you’d like for us to share a story about, please contact Anchor Annette Lawless at [email protected]