Toddlers died of hyperthermia
Investigation continues into deaths
By ERICA MORRISON
South Bend Tribune Staff Writer
5:58 p.m. EDT, June 20, 2011
The two New Carlisle siblings found in the trunk of a car on Friday died of hyperthermia, according to a news release from the St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Unit.
Dr. Joseph Prahlow, forensic pathologist, verified that excessive heat caused the organs in both 2-year-old Isaac Dunner and 4-year-old Dominick Wilk, to shut down resulting in death, according to the release.
Police were called on Friday to the family's home in the 300 block of East Ada Street, New Carlisle, after receiving a 911 call from their mother who found the boys unresponsive in the trunk of her 2000 Chevy Malibu.
Both children were treated by medics and police at the scene before being rushed to Memorial Hospital.
Two-year-old Issac died at the hospital later that day.
Saturday morning, 4-year-old Dominick died as well.
The siblings lived in the home with their mother and her mother and stepfather.
Neither of the grandparents were home at the time of the incident.
It is unclear how the children got into the trunk, but there was no emergency release latch in the trunk.
In wake of the deaths, KidsAndCars.org, a national nonprofit child safety organization, is demanding General Motors recall all vehicle models from 2000-2001 with trunks to retrofit them with internal trunk releases.
In a media release, the organization cited a 2009 incident in Springdale, Ark. in which a 4 and 5-year-old brother and sister died in the trunk of the same make and model as the New Carlisle incident.
The investigation continues.