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Editorial: A search ending in painful tragedy

A tragedy unfolded this week in the northwestern Wisconsin town of Centuria as a 2-year-old toddler Isaiah Theis went missing. Hundreds of volunteers helped search for the boy before his body was found in the trunk of a locked car.

The body was found by law enforcement officials about 10 p.m. Wednesday, a little over 26 hours after the boy was last seen playing with an older brother outside the family’s home.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office on Friday announced the preliminary autopsy results that noted the toddler died from excessive heat in the trunk of the car. There were no signs of traumatic injuries or fractures.

Many are asking why this vehicle on the family’s property was not thoroughly searched.

Polk County officials expressed regret Thursday that law enforcement did not force open the trunk of this particular car.

It is unfortunate, but law enforcement were told by family that the vehicle had been locked before the boy disappeared.

Apparently no one — not a family member, a law enforcement member or a volunteer searcher — thought to check this particular vehicle. They had concentrated the search on fields and woods surrounding the family home.

This is a tragedy for all involved — from the family to law enforcement to the volunteer searchers. They all just wanted to find this toddler and return him home.

Unfortunately, sometimes life’s outcomes are just plain tragic.