POLK COUNTY, WI (WTAQ) - Folks in northwest Wisconsin may have lost a two-year-old boy – but they gained a new trust in humanity.
Polk County Sheriff Peter Johnson said 2,450 people volunteered to look for young Isaiah Thies on Tuesday night and Wednesday. That was before a deputy found the boy’s body late Wednesday night.
Social media announced the need for searchers. The total number was two-and-a-half times the population of nearby Centuria, which has just 950 residents.
Polk County Emergency Management Director Kathy Poirier calls it the largest search effort she could ever remember.
She tells the St. Paul Pioneer Press she was amazed, but not surprised. Businesses, churches, and others donated food and water for the searchers, as they combed a one square-mile area in searing 90 degree heat.
Pallets of bottled water were never consumed. Poirier says they’ll be donated to fire departments and food relief efforts.
Investigators blocked off access to the site Thursday, as they started looking for clues on how young Isaiah might have died.
There were new signs of caring, as well-wishers left stuffed animals at a makeshift memorial at one of the roadblocks.