SHERIFF: Centuria, Wis. 2-year-old had keys in trunk - KMSP-TV

SHERIFF: Wis. 2-year-old had keys in trunk, likely died shortly after missing

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Polk County Sheriff Peter Johnson confirmed Tuesday that the Centuria, Wis. 2-year-old who died after overheating in the trunk of a car had the keys with him and likely died shortly after he went missing.

Over 26 hours passed once Isaiah Theis was reported missing last Tuesday. Dozens of searchers scoured a two-mile radius around his home, only to discover he was inside the trunk of the Chevy Impala his father was repairing outside the house.

While the sheriff's office typically doesn't make public statements in the midst of an open investigation, the family's pastor said over the weekend that the toddler had the keys to the vehicle and several other sets of keys in the trunk, and Johnson has now confirmed this information.

The initial investigation indicates the Chevy Impala had been looked into, and the area around the vehicle had been searched several times; however, searchers were told the vehicle had been locked before the toddler went missing and that it was highly unlikely that he was inside.

While the preliminary autopsy report did not list an official time of death, the Midwest Medical examiner's office released the following reply upon Johnson's request:

"Unlike television forensic programs, unless the death is witnessed, it is not possible to give an exact time of death. Multiple factors are taken into account when making an estimation of the time of death, including when the individual was last known to be alive. The time of death is only an estimate.

It can be said that the changes to Isaiah's body were consistent with him dying soon after the time he was last known to be alive. Case reports recording temperature changes within sealed, non air-conditioned cars in the summer document how quickly and how high the temperature within the car can rise. Individual cases of children who are left in sealed, non air-conditioned cars for a known period of time document how quickly, within a matter of hours, death can occur. It is most likely that Isaiah was deceased, or had experienced irreversible damage, by 9 p.m. if he was already in the trunk around the time it was reportedly realized he was missing."

A visitation will be held Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Trollhaugen ski resort in Dresser, Wis. and will be open to the public. A private funeral is scheduled Wednesday morning at Alliance Church of the Valley in St. Croix Falls.

No further details will be released until the investigation is closed.

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