ME: Wis. toddler died within hours of being in locked trunk


The medical examiner investigating the death of 2-year-old Isaiah Theis said the boy likely died soon after he was reported missing last week, the Star Tribune said.

Isaiah's mother told authorities that her son was last seen playing with his 7-year-old brother around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night. While family and friends searched for the boy, the Polk County Sheriff's Office was notified at about 8:50 p.m.

Dr. A. Quinn Strobl, who conducted the autopsy, said Isaiah likely died or suffered irreversible damage by 9 p.m. if he was already in the hot, sealed trunk around the time he was realized missing.

"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," Strobl wrote in email to the sheriff's office, according to the Pioneer Press.

MPR has a full copy of the medical examiner's note.

A sheriff’s deputy discovered Isaiah’s body in the trunk of a locked Chevrolet Impala near the family's rural Centuria home Wednesday night. Preliminary autopsy results indicated that Isaiah died from probable hyperthermia, or excessive heat.

A family spokesperson said Monday that Isaiah's parents believe the boy took the keys to the car from his father’s auto repair shop, opened the trunk and climbed inside on his own.

Sheriff Peter Johnson confirmed Tuesday that the key to the vehicle was found inside the trunk with the boy, which was reported earlier by the family spokesperson.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating Isaiah’s death and has not yet released any further findings in the case.

A public visitation for Isaiah is being held from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Trollhaugen Ski Resort in Dresser, Wis.

Another visitation will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Alliance Church of the Valley in St. Croix Falls before funeral services at 11 a.m., followed by a private burial.

Next Up