UPDATE: Memorial Fund Made for Isaiah Theis - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

UPDATE: Memorial Fund Made for Isaiah Theis

Isaiah Theis Isaiah Theis

Polk County (WQOW) - An area community is reaching out to a family grieving the loss of their child.

A memorial fund has been set up for the family of two year old Isaiah Theis. Isaiah was found by police last Wednesday night in the trunk of a car near his home in Centuria. A preliminary autopsy shows he died from heat exhaustion.

According to the fundraising website, the money donated will help offset the costs associated with Isaiah's funeral.

If you'd like more information about how you can help, click here.

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BALSAM LAKE (WXOW) -- Polk County Chief Deputy Steven Moe says "everything is on the table" as investigators try to determine whether two year old Isaiah Theis' death was accidental, or criminal.

Moe says Isaiah's family states the little boy tended to wander outside around the family's Polk County farm in Centuria.

Authorities say late Wednesday night, the little boy's body was found in the trunk of a burgundy, late model Chevy Impala.

Moe says the vehicle was parked very near the Theis home for repairs. Several cars were on the property, however, authorities didn't have keys to three of the vehicles.

Moe says the search for the toddler was carried out under the premise the three cars had been locked and inaccessible before the boy wandered away from playing with an older brother Tuesday evening.

Moe offered no explanation as to why there was no spare key with the father, who did repairs on customer cars on the property.

Moe says family members are "devastated," and are cooperating with authorities.

In hindsight, Moe says he wishes authorities would have forced entry into the cars.

The owner came to claim the Chevy around 10:00 Wednesday evening, and gave authorities permission to search. By 10:15, they discovered little Isaiah's body in the trunk.

An autopsy was performed Thursday and results should be released soon.

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BALSAM LAKE, Wis. (AP) - An investigator says he wishes searchers had thought earlier of forcing open the trunk of a car where a western Wisconsin toddler was found dead.

A deputy found the body of 2-year-old Isaiah Theis in the trunk of a car at his parents' home near Centuria Wednesday night. The father repairs cars there and the car belonged to a customer.

Polk County Chief Deputy Steve Moe tells reporters investigators didn't have access to keys to the cars. He says they had presumed the boy wandered off Tuesday night, which he had a tendency to do, and that all the customers' cars were locked.

Moe declined to speculate how Isaiah ended up in the trunk. He says the autopsy is being expedited but he doesn't expect results Thursday.

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BALSAM LAKE, Wisconsin UPDATE (WXOW) --- Polk County officials tell us 2-year-old Isaiah Theis was found dead overnight in the trunk of car near his home.

The boy was found at 10:15 last night after the owner of a vehicle nearby arrived to remove it.

Police say the car was locked prior to the report of him missing and police searched around it.

Officials are still investigating the death and any possible causes.

No word on if this is accidental or criminal.

A full autopsy is being done.

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UPDATE: BALSAM LAKE, Wisconsin (WQOW) - The search for a missing two year old has come to a tragic end. The body of 2 year old Isaiah Theis was found by a law enforcement officer shortly after 10 O-clock Wednesday (07/17) night.

No further information has been released at this time. The Polk County Sheriff's Department will be releasing more information later this morning (07/18). A press conference is scheduled for later Thursday (07/18) morning.  

The two-year-old boy disappeared Tuesday (07/16) night. He was last seen playing inside the family home, near Centuria, Wisconsin, with his 7-year old brother around 7:30 p.m. 

Search teams then spent hours looking for him, but nothing turned up. Wednesday (07/17) morning around 500 volunteers combed the landscape searching for the little boy despite temperatures soaring well into the 90's.
 
The Polk County Sheriff's Department called off the search, and was planning to resume the search again Thursday (07/18) morning,  but nearly 30 hours since he was reported missing, the body of the 2 year old was located.
 
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BALSAM LAKE, Wisconsin (WXOW) -  A search is resuming for a missing toddler in Polk County.

Justin Theis tells WCCO radio his 2-year-old son, Isaiah, wandered away from the family's rural home near Balsam Lake about 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Dozens of law enforcement officers and volunteers searched Tuesday night for the child until about 3 a.m. Wednesday.  A Minnesota State Patrol helicopter equipped with an infrared unit didn't identify any areas of interest for searchers.

The searchers went back out at 6:00 a.m. to continue the search.

Polk County Sheriff Peter Johnson said in a news release that searchers are planning on a slower, more detailed search of the areas covered in darkness was happening Wednesday morning.

Theis says he hopes his son is taking a nap in the corn fields and will find his way home soon.

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