UPDATE: Keys Found In Trunk With Wisconsin 2-Year-Old, Investigation Continues In Polk County

Saturday, July 20th, 2013 at 11:13 am

Only hours after autopsy results showed hyperthermia was a cause in 2-year-old Isaiah Theis’ death, investigators are now trying to piece together how several sets of keys ended up in the trunk with the Polk County toddler.

In an interview with the Pioneer Press, the Polk County Sheriff’s office states it had been notified about the car being locked before Isaiah disappeared on Tuesday night, therefore it could not have been accessed. The owner of the vehicle arrived with a key to remove the car at around 10 p.m. on Wednesday. At that point, a sheriff’s deputy opened the trunk and found the boy’s body.

The Associated Press reports the boy’s father does car repairs there and the car belonged to a customer.

Autopsy results on 2-year-old Isaiah Theis of rural Centuria were released Friday. According to KMSP, the autopsy concludes that Theis experienced hyperthermia while in the trunk of the car, meaning his death was likely contributed to factors of heat.

The autopsy also indicates that the toddler did not suffocate in the car trunk, nor suffered traumatic injuries.

The boy went missing on Tuesday evening while playing with his brother at their home, and a search with over two thousand volunteers ensued on Wednesday before the body was discovered at 10pm.

Polk County Chief Deputy Steve Moe told reporters that investigators presumed the boy wandered off Tuesday night, which Moe say’s he had a tendency to do, and that all the customers’ cars were locked.

Chief Deputy Moe declined to speculate how Isaiah ended up in the trunk.

Talk radio airwaves erupted on the story on Thursday. Calls from people who had volunteered the day before flooded into Twin Cities stations often reporting that the search efforts were very confusing and that authorities had a hard time coordinating the large number of volunteers that responded to posts on facebook. Moe thanked the volunteers for turning out in such large number.

The vehicle was reportedly within 100 yards of the home.

We’ll keep you updated on this ongoing story.


  1. jordan 07/26/13 at 12:50am

    It just seems strange to me that anyone especially a child could shut the door after putting themselves in the truck of a car. I have trouble closing the trunk of my car on the outside of the car at times…?

  2. nora 08/3/13 at 2:39pm

    Like Jordan, I’m having trouble imagining how a toddler could pull a trunk lid down hard enough to close it all the way! I also can’t imagine how or why a 2 year old had access to keys that belonged to his dad’s customers, and how he was able to, out of all those keys in his hands, find the right key for this lock, insert it correctly, and then remove the key and climb inside with all of those other keys still in his hands. (Wouldn’t most kids just leave the key in the lock once it opened…and possibly drop a set of keys in the process?) When the officers were checking the vehicles, did they ever ask for the keys? Why would a 2 year old even think about shutting himself in a trunk (let alone be able to follow through with all of these steps), unless someone had shown him the inside of a trunk (perhaps playfully) as a place to hide?
    I trust that the investigators are asking what would seem to be obvious questions in this tragic loss. This whole scenario just doesn’t seem possible without the assistance of someone else.

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