Details still in works on toddler tragedy
No timeline for final report
by Greg Marsten
Leader staff writer
BALSAM LAKE – The investigation behind the two-year-old rural Centuria child, Isaiah Theis, who perished in the trunk of a car at the family farm remains an open investigation, as Polk County Sheriff Peter Johnson confirmed earlier this week.
Johnson said there isn't really a timeline for releasing any further information, as they remain in waiting on the full autopsy report, "which can take several weeks," Johnson said. Local investigators are also waiting on the final report from the crime lab.
"We won't release any of the details we are working on now, because without the above mentioned reports the information we have now is incomplete," Johnson said. "Everything has to be in context to everything else before we can close the investigation."
The child was first reported missing to authorities at just before 9 p.m. on Tuesday, July 16. The family and neighbors had been searching the area around the family farm at 1554 180th Street in the Town of St. Croix Falls for an hour-and-a-half prior, when the toddler was last seen playing with his seven-year-old brother in the backyard.
A massive search effort ensued for the next 24 hours, as almost 2,500 people volunteered in some capacity to find the little boy, who was tragically discovered deceased at around 10:15 p.m. on July 17 in a Chevrolet Impala trunk on the property the next evening, with the keys.
An initial medical examiner's report listed the cause of death as hyperthermia, literally overheating, and the early estimation was that the child died a short time after entering the trunk, as it was one of the hottest, most humid days all summer.
There are still plenty of questions to be answered about the tragedy, and the sheriff's office continues to field queries on the case, which garnered national attention.
"After all the reports (are finalized) it could generate one thousand new questions or they could give us nothing we don't already know," Johnson said. "We just have to wait."
Johnson confirmed that they continue to seek answers on this end, as well.
"In the meantime, we are interviewing people and confirming facts, trying to narrow time lines," Johnson said. "The case has slowed now while we wait for those reports, but it does continue."
Funeral services for Isaiah Theis took place on July 24 at the Alliance Church of the Valley in St. Croix Falls. There was also be a widely attended community visitation the night prior at the Trollhaugen Convention Center in Dresser.
A memorial fund with a goal of raising $20,000 for the Theis family has been established. The website is http://www.youcaring.com/memorial-fundraiser/isaiah-theis-memorial-fund/74082 .