Crews refocus search for missing Wis. toddler

2:37 PM, Jul 17, 2013   |    comments
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CENTURIA, Wis. - Law enforcement and volunteer teams are refocusing their efforts after a morning of searching failed to locate a missing toddler in western Wisconsin.

Polk County Sheriff Pete Johnson says there is still no sign of 2-year-old Isaiah Theis, who disappeared from his family's farmstead in rural Centuria around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Deputies, local police and a team of more than 100 volunteers searched for the boy from about 9 p.m. Tuesday to 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, and then resumed activities at 6 a.m.

Johnson says after fanning out into new, more wide open areas, search teams are going to refocus on an area about one mile surrounding the family home. "We're going to crowd more people into smaller places," he said during a press conference, having volunteers and officers go shoulder to shoulder so they don't miss the small boy.

The Sheriff also said his deputies are paying closer attention to a pond and swamp near the Theis home. "We've been over and around em', and now we're going through em," he told reporters. Search dogs and their handlers from several law enforcement departments and civilian organizations are also working the search area.

There are a number of challenges in the search for Isaiah, from dense areas of forest to the sweltering heat. Sheriff Johnson said he realized he was tiring after searching most of the night and morning, so he called in fellow sheriffs from neighboring Pierce and St. Croix Counties so, in his words, "I won't miss something."

While people are still being encouraged to help in the search for the toddler, volunteers are asked to report to the Polk/Burnett Power Cooperative in Centuria to get their assignment.


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