October 22, 2014

Investigation ongoing in death of Polk County toddler

Isaiah Theis (Photo: Polk County Sheriff's Department)

Isaiah Theis (Photo: Polk County Sheriff’s Department)

Investigators in Polk County are offering few details about how they believe the body of a missing toddler ended up in the trunk of a parked car. An officer found the body of two-year-old Isaiah Theis in the vehicle late Wednesday night, a little more than a day after he was reported missing.

Polk County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Steve Moe says officers had looked inside several cars parked at an auto repair business that was very close to Theis’ home near Centuria, WI at the beginning of the search, but did not force their way inside because they were locked. Moe says police were operating the search under the belief that Theis had wandered away from home, which he had a habit of doing.

Police waited to check the trunk of the car until the owner of the vehicle came to pick it up on Wednesday night.

AUDIO: Deputy Steve Moe (1:36)

During a press conference Thursday afternoon, Moe told reporters that, in hindsight, he would have liked to have forced entry in to the vehicles. He said it was a surprise when they discovered the boy’s body inside, considering how close police and search volunteers had been to the vehicle.

Investigators are not commenting at this time on how they believe Theis ended up in the vehicle’s trunk. When asked if the case is being treated as a criminal investigation, Moe only said “right now, everything is on the table.”

WXCE’s Kurt Mayer contributed to this report.