Preliminary autopsy: Iron County toddler may have died of hypoth - KMOV.com

Preliminary autopsy: Iron County toddler may have died of hypothermia

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Titus Tackett (KMOV) Titus Tackett (KMOV)

IRON COUNTY, Mo (KMOV.com) -- A preliminary autopsy on the three-year-old boy who went missing in Ironton Wednesday is complete, and according to Iron County Coroner Tony Cole, it appears the toddler may have died of hypothermia.

Titus Tackett was reported missing between midnight and 1 a.m. Wednesday. The boy’s parents said they left the toddler with a grandparent when they went to run an errand around midnight. When the parents returned home around 1 a.m. they noticed the door to the house was open and the child was missing.

More than 80 volunteers combed the area for signs of the toddler and K-9 units and FBI helicopters were also dispatched.

Tackett’s body was found around 11 a.m. inside a van by a nearby homeowner. The van was roughly a mile away from where Tackett was last seen.

According to Cole, examiners of Titus Tackett’s body found no injuries that would be consistent with foul play. Examiners did see superficial scratches and marks that could have been caused by a fall or if the boy walked through brush.

"It is not as unusual as everybody might think- how can a child walk? They have a better determination than we do when going somewhere," said Iron County Sheriff Roger Medley. "Pain, all that goes away. They are going to get to where they want to be."

There is currently no explanation of how Tackett wound up in the van but Cole, who knows the family well, says many of them are mechanics and Tackett was already smart enough to start a 4-wheeler on his own and unlock and open doors.

The medical examiner said the full autopsy will be completed after the toxicology report comes back in 30 days.

In the meantime, multiple departments are continuing to investigate. Sheriff Medley said nothing in the report was "glaring," and authorities don't expect to make any decisions until the toxicology report comes back. 

"We look at everybody as a suspect and not a suspect at the same time. Our concern right now is finding out what happened," he said. "For us, the most important thing is to learn what happened to prevent something from happening again. It was a tragic. A child died."

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