CENTURIA, WISC. - The body of a missing two-year old was found late Wednesday night in an unexpected place. Searchers had been combing the area around the tyke's rural home, thinking he had wandered away. The boy was found much closer to home.
"Last night, it was about 10:15 when the body of two year old Isaiah Theis was found in a vehicle, the trunk of a vehicle," Steve Moe, Polk County Chief Deputy said.
Moe said he was "completely surprised" when the boy was found in the trunk of a car being repaired by Justin Theis, the boy's father. The body was discovered when the client of the repair shop came for his locked car and police demanded he open the trunk. Previously, the car had been locked and investigators did not force it open.
"In hindsight, now, would I like to have forced entry to the car?" said Moe. "Yeah."
Isaiah's Grandfather, Paul Krey of White Bear Lake, told KARE 11 News that his daughter screamed when she was given the news and suffered "a breakdown". Isaiah's mother is now hospitalized. The father was also taken to the hospital. Authorities emphasized that the parents have been cooperating with investigators while grieving the loss of their son.
"They treat it as a crime scene," said Krey. "So, they (the parents) are supposed to give a polygraph. Both of them and I do not know how they are going to do that. She is in the hospital. But I guess they work it out."
The Western Wisconsin community is stunned by events of the week and plan two observances in honor of Isaiah Thursday evening: a memorial in City Park in Centuria from 8-10pm and a prayer service at the Alliance Church of the Valley in Saint Croix Falls at 7pm.
The Polk County Sheriff's Department thanked the hundreds or thousands of volunteer searchers who fanned out across rugged territory in extreme heat in the attempt to find the boy. Among them was Lucas Tiffany, 19, a neighbor of the Theis's, who had seen Isaiah on numerous occasions.
"I have known him since he was a little guy," said Tiffany. "He would always give me a hug when I would bring my dad's truck there and my car. He was really friendly."
Centurian Fire Chief Tony Wienzirl said his men will gather for a debriefing to compare notes on what worked well during the search and what could have been better. Virtually, the entire department participated in the hunt for Isaiah.
"Most of the people that are on the fire department are parents. So, it is a difficult thing for everybody."
(Copyright 2013 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)