Update: Missing 2-Year-Old Found Dead
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Hundreds of volunteers walked shoulder to shoulder all day Wednesday in synchronized searches trying to find a 2-year-old boy who reportedly went missing from his home in the western Wisconsin town of Centuria.
Isaiah Theis went missing at about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday from his family’s yard on the 1500 block of 180th Street after playing with his 7-year-old brother, according to his father, Justin Theis.
“What I’m hoping for is that [Isaiah] laid down and took a nap in a corn stalk or some place,” the boy’s father said. “I’m praying that he’ll just wake up from a nice sleep over the night and wander home.”
Centuria is located in Polk County, just north and east of St. Croix Falls.
On Tuesday, about 150 volunteers and the Minnesota State Patrol helicopter went out searching for the boy. The search was suspended around 1:30 a.m. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said the search resumed at about 6 a.m. Wednesday as dozens of volunteers came out in the hopes of finding the boy. They searched in groups of 10 to 12.
By mid-morning, dozens of searchers became hundreds. Their cars stretched for miles on the street where the Theis family lives. WCCO-TV’s cameras captured the scene from the air, showing the 450 searchers on the ground.
As of Wednesday evening, Polk County Sheriff Peter Johnson said the search is in a 2-square mile area, which has corn stalks up to 6 feet tall, ponds and woodlands. Along with the hundreds of volunteers, there is also an aerial crew searching and crews out with dogs.
Despite temperatures well into the 90s, crews pressed on Wednesday, searching in shifts to avoid exhaustion.
“[The searchers are] all still motivated,” Johnson said. “It’s a 2-year-old. Nobody likes to see that, and it gives everybody a little extra reason to continue.”
The search was called off for the night before 10 p.m. Wednesday.
Volunteer Tim Mares heard about the missing boy on the news.
“Hey, if it was my son, I’d want lots of help,” he said. “I have four children. I couldn’t imagine one of my children being out there.”
There is no indication of foul play, officials say, but they are not ruling anything out.
The search is scheduled to start again Thursday morning at 10 a.m.