The search for a missing toddler is over in western Wisconsin after an officer discovered the body of 2-year-old Isaiah Theis shortly after 10 p.m. Wednesday, minutes after the volunteer search ended.
UPDATE: Officer found body of Isaiah Theis in trunk of car. Read more at http://bit.ly/13QLPmd
The Polk County sheriff canceled a press conference scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday, but planned to release more information at that time. With the investigation in its early stages, very little detailed information on Isaiah's death is expected.
Before the search was called off for the night, officials still held out hope the toddler would be found alive. At 8:30 p.m., Polk County Sheriff Peter Johnson had described the search for him as a marathon, not a sprint.
The toddler from Centuria, Wis., had been missing for about 26 hours when his body was found.
According to his mother, Isaiah was playing inside the family's home on the 1500 block of 180th Street with his 7-year-old brother when he went missing around 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Isaiah was known to walk outside occasionally, but hadn't wandered far in the past.
Johnson said foul play is not suspected, describing Isaiah as a "precocious" boy who likes to strike out on his own. Isaiah "was known to get on the road and go," Johnson said.
"He apparently does have a proclivity to wander," Johnson explained. "He's been up and down the roads. He's been to the neighbor's house. He likes animals, so when you get a stray dog or the neighbor's cat that comes in the yard, he follows it."
DOZENS OF VOLUNTEERS JOINED SEARCH
The sheriff's office organized volunteers around 6 a.m. Wednesday and groups scanned a 2-mile radius in dense, wooded areas. Johnson said four of the volunteers got lost in the area themselves and also had to be located by rescue teams.
Divers were also called to search a nearby pond on Wednesday, but no sign of Isaiah was found.
Dog teams were also brought in to help with the search, but due to the heat, they were only able to stay out for about 30 minutes at a time.
By Wednesday afternoon, searchers regrouped for a shoulder-to-shoulder search of the same immediate area surrounding the boy's home. Crews searched until they could no longer see on Wednesday night and had planned to resume on Thursday morning.
Roughly 450 volunteers learned of the missing toddler from Facebook and Twitter posts Tuesday night, helping search until 1:30 a.m., which is when it became too dangerous to continue in the dark. Wednesday's search retraced areas searched Tuesday night, but in greater detail.
A Minnesota State Patrol helicopter assisted with a flyover search.