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Death of toddler found in trunk is ruled an accident

BALSAM LAKE, Wis. - One day shy of a year since a sheriff's deputy found a toddler’s body locked in a car trunk, Polk County District Attorney Daniel Steffen has concluded the boy's death a “tragic accident.”

Isaiah D. Theis, 2, had the key to the car when his body was found about 24 hours after he disappeared while playing with his brother on his parents' property near Centuria. He was found when the car’s owner came to retrieve the vehicle from a repair shop operated by the boy's father.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Steffen said that after an investigation by the Polk County Sheriff's Department, with assistance from the FBI, state Department of Criminal Investigations and state crime lab, "it is my opinion that Isaiah's death was a tragic accident and that no intent or recklessness was present to cause that death.”

Isaiah's disappearance came amid a heat wave. National Weather Service records show nearby St. Croix Falls had recorded a high of 87 the day he went missing and a high of 91 the day his body was found.

Preliminary autopsy results released after he was discovered said Isaiah likely died of hyperthermia due to the blistering heat.

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