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Body of Wis. 2-year-old was found in vehicle trunk

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The body of missing Wisconsin 2-year-old Isaiah Theis was discovered in the trunk of car Wednesday night, WCCO reports.

The locked vehicle was near the family's property, according to the Star Tribune.

KSTP reports: "Authorities say the area around the vehicle had been searched several times, but searchers had been told the vehicle was locked before Isaiah was reported missing so it was unlikely he was inside."

The Star Tribune reported the sheriff's office announced the boy's body was found by an officer some time after 10 p.m. The body was found just before the owner of the vehicle arrived to remove it from the area, KARE 11 reported. The identity of the car's owner has not been disclosed, FOX 9 reported.

An autopsy is pending. Polk County Sheriff Peter Johnson vowed a "thorough investigation as to any possible cause, whether that cause is accidental or criminal,” the Star Tribune reported.

Hundreds of volunteers in Polk County, Wis., had joined law enforcement authorities Wednesday in an all-day search for the missing toddler.

The boy had wandered away from his home in a rural area near Centuria, Wis., roughly 60 miles northeast of the Twin Cities, on Tuesday evening.

The child's parents said their son had been playing with his 7-year-old brother and was last seen around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, and authorities were notified shortly before 9 p.m., the Star Tribune noted.

Sheriff Johnson says the boy had "a proclivity to wander" and had been known to chase after a stray dog or cat.

Earlier in the search, the 2-year-old's father Justin Theis had said, “What I’m hoping for is that he laid down and took a nap in a corn stalk or some place. I’m praying that he’ll just wake up from a nice sleep over the night and wander home,” WCCO reported.

Searchers on foot and a helicopter crew scoured a square mile around the boy's house Tuesday night, the Star Tribune reported. Authorities called off the search at about 3 a.m. Wednesday and resumed at about 6 a.m., according to KSTP.

As many as 450 volunteers aided in the search that expanded to a 2-square-mile area Wednesday, WCCO reported.

The challenges in the search for Isaiah included dense areas of forest and sweltering heat, KARE 11 said.

FOX 9 tweeted from the scene during the search Wednesday morning:

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