Tuesday evening around 8PM I asked Kirk if Fender and I could go for a walk. I’ve walked and jogged this road hundreds of times. It’s a very common route for me. I said hello to some fellow neighbors and was just enjoying the beautiful evening.
A familiar white truck pulled up next to me. It was our neighbor, Justin. “Have you seen Isaiah?” I hadn’t seen the sweet little 2 year old. I was told to keep my eye open. He had been missing for an hour already. I called Kirk to tell him I was going to help look. I was wearing flip flops and shorts, so Kirk dressed in more appropriate attire, armed with bug spray, a flashlight and the like and drove up to bring me the car so I could go home to my kiddos and he could go search. While I waited for Kirk, I looked into the cornfield and yelled for Isaiah.
Isaiah’s a precocious little boy who loves to wander.
I stopped and told some fellow neighbors that Isaiah was missing on my mile drive home. Kirk called 911, and he also put out a call for help on his Facebook page that included our home phone number and the calls started to flood in from people who wanted to come and help.
It was starting to get dark.
Little Isaiah Theis was out there somewhere.
We were told that around 150 volunteers came out that night to search cornfields, swamps, heavy woods and open spaces. Around 1:30AM they called off the volunteers as it was just too dangerous and the helicopter searched with infrared and a spotlight. Searching would resume at 6AM.
Our phone rang off the hook through the night. People from cities I had never heard of were planning to come and search for Isaiah. “I’m an hour and a half away, do they still need volunteers?” People took time off of work and coordinated childcare so they could help find a child that many of them had never met or even heard of before Tuesday.
Our rural area was quickly flooding with people.
Teams went out and searched hoping for some trace of little Isaiah. Through cornfields, over barbed wire and bogs, with the heat and mosquitoes, no one complained. There was one mission, one goal: find Isaiah!
Airplanes and helicopters, dogs and horses, 4 wheelers and on foot, everyone worked together.
The day passed as hundreds and hundreds of volunteers came. (Later we were told around 2,500 volunteers had come)! Our phone continued to ring. Still there was no sign of Isaiah. The sun went down again. Volunteers were called off and told to return again at 6am.
Then around 10:20 we heard the news that Isaiah was found! Kirk and I hopped into our car and went up the road. An officer was at the end of the road. Kirk said, “I heard they found him, is that true?” The officer told us he couldn’t give us details, but yes, he was found. “Is he ok?” The officer replied, “No, that’s all I can say”.
Brokenhearted we drove home. We cried and talked and mourned. We had heard rumors that he was found in the trunk of a car. We learned in the morning that that was, in fact, true.
How? When? Why? These are still the questions that remain.
The firefighters, law enforcement, EMTs, media and volunteers are gone now.
The worn grass remains from where the command center was.
Police line still hangs in the corn field nearby.
The “Road Closed” signs lay in the ditch.
Our barn door is still propped open from a team of searchers going through it.
And precious Isaiah is not with us anymore. Questions remain. In fact, there are more questions than answers.
How do you tell your children that the little boy that we have been searching for is no longer with us? That Eli, who just rode with us to Vacation Bible School all last week, has lost his baby brother and is now in heaven?
How do you try to impress upon their hearts that which you yourself cannot fathom or process.
How did this happen? Why were the cars, that were asked about repeatedly, not searched? How did Isaiah get in there?
Ella expressed it very well tonight, “Mom, when I think of Isaiah, I think of Sawyer (our almost 2 year old), and it makes me cry!” It makes me cry too!
With all the questions, one thing I do know. This world is NOT my home. Our hearts ache! As a pastor said at a service yesterday, death is unnatural. This is NOT how it is supposed to be. We long for things to be made right. This is not as God intended it to be. Our hearts long for the perfection of Heaven! I can’t wait to give Isaiah a big hug when I get there.
Jesus come quickly!
Blessings to your sweet family,
If you are interested in an amazing resource written by a mother who lost her 12 year old in a skiing accident check out the link below. Suffering is not easy, but this can help in the process of questions and anger.