UPDATE: Toddler found dead at Sauk County campground - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Toddler found dead at Sauk County campground


By Jamie Hersch - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

SAUK CITY (WKOW) -- A toddler's death put a somber end to Saturday's MDA Freedom Ride in Sauk City.

Emergency responders arrived at the VFW Memorial Park campground in Prairie du Sac at 2:39 p.m. on Saturday and found a 16-month-old boy without a pulse and not breathing.

"My mom saw them do CPR on the baby and they said that the baby was dead," said Becky Haag, who spent the weekend camping at the same campground.

Sauk City police are keeping a tight lid on the investigation but an autopsy was scheduled for Sunday afternoon. They expect results on Monday.

"I've heard people saying it was heat related. We cannot confirm that at this point in time. There are a lot of people in the community that are circulating a lot of information that I can neither confirm nor deny at this point," said Sauk Prairie Police Chief Jerry Strunz.

According to numerous campers who were at the VFW campground at the time of the incident, the toddler was left inside the camper. Several witnesses saw authorities towing the camper and say it was more like a trailer than a camper.

"[The camper] was red and white and it was like a stock car racing trailer that you could put stock cars into it," said Haag.

"They had no windows. It was just a door on an aluminum-sided trailer. That's got to be hot," said Kelly Gabris, who also saw the vehicle towed away.

It was a tragic end to a charitable weekend, casting a shadow on the entire event. Many people were so upset they had to leave the campground.

"Usually on Saturday night, this place is packed. It's hard to have fun when you've got that in the back of your mind," said Gabris.

Police will neither confirm nor deny the child was left unattended. They say they are in the "infant stages" of the investigation and are not releasing any details about the family.

On Sunday morning, Chief Strunz told 27 News the parents were not participants in Saturday's Freedom Ride but were there to watch some friends. On Sunday afternoon, Strunz retracted that statement, saying even that information remains under investigation.

Once the investigation is complete, police say they will turn it over to the Sauk County District Attorney's office for review.


SAUK CITY (WKOW) -- Sauk Prairie Police Chief Gerald Strunz released the following statement regarding the death of a 16-month-old boy on Saturday:

"On July 17, 2010 at approximately 2:39 p.m. Sauk Prairie EMS and police were summoned to the VFW Park campground in the 800 block of Water Street in the Village of Prairie du Sac for a report of an unresponsive infant. While EMS and officers were responding to the scene they received additional information that bystander CPR was in progress and that the patient was a 16-month-old child.

"Sauk Prairie EMS and police arrived on location at 2:43 p.m. and observed a female subject performing CPR. EMS immediately took over life-saving efforts in an attempt to revive the child.

"The 16-month-old boy was transported via Sauk Prairie EMS to Sauk Prairie Memorial where he was pronounced dead at 3:18 p.m.

"The 16-month-old boy and his family are from the Mauston area and the family was camping at the VFW Park campground at the time of this incident.

"The Sauk Prairie Police Department and the Sauk County Coroner's Office are in the process of conducting a death investigation at this time. Other agencies assisting with this investigation include the Sauk County Sheriff's Department and the Wisconsin State Patrol.

"The official cause of death is not known at this time. An autopsy is scheduled for this afternoon and the investigation of this incident is continuing. Once the investigation is complete the information will be forwarded to the Sauk County District Attorney's Office for review."

Stay tuned to wkow.com and WKOW 27 News at 5:30 for the latest on this developing story.


SAUK CITY (WKOW) -- Police say a 16-month-old boy died at a VFW campground following the MDA Freedom Ride on Saturday.

Sauk Prairie Police Chief Gerald Strunz tells 27 News the family is from Mauston and was in Sauk City to watch friends participate in the motorcycle ride.

Police received an emergency call saying the toddler was pulseless and not breathing.

Emergency responders rushed the toddler to Sauk Prairie Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Strunz would not confirm the cause of death but says it appears to be heat related.

27 News' Jamie Hersch is speaking with police and will have the latest information on this story tonight on 27 News at 5:30.

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