Child Died of Electrolyte Imbalance, Vomiting, Diarrhea

Child Died of Electrolyte Imbalance, Vomiting, Diarrhea


The Indiana State Police today released the results of an autopsy on the 5-year-old boy who was found in a suitcase in a wooded area near Pekin on April 16.

The report was received by police on Sunday May 20 and ISP Sgt. Carey Huls read the results today during a live press conference at Sellersburg.

He said the autopsy listed the final diagnosis and final cause of death as “electrolyte imbalance” most likely due to gastroenteritis, which in layman’s terms would be vomiting and diarrhea, resulting in dehydration. 

“Death in this male child of unknown age is attributed to electrolyte imbalance. this is most likely secondary to a viral gastroenteritis. blood toxicology studies are negative. there are no significant injuries.”

An electrolyte imbalance is caused when a person loses a large amount of body fluids. For example, if you are sweating or vomiting too much, it can lower the levels of some electrolytes in the body, which can cause several other problems. 

Huls said the toxicology report was negative. 

“Other types of testing was done by the physician,” Huls said. “And no anatomical cause of death was listed. There was no significant traumatic injuries. The child appeared to be of normal growth and development.”

Huls said it was a very odd, tragic case. The autopsy report “wasn’t the answer we were hoping for….something we can really work with.”

Huls said the case is ongoing and police are looking into lots of different avenues.  

“If you know of a black child that fits this description that is missing, please give us a call,” said Huls. “We want to emphasize, of the documented children that are missing across the country, those have been looked into. We are working with the missing children clearinghouse. At this point there is no match on the list of children who are missing.”

He said police were working hand in hand with the other authorities that deal with missing children. 

“We have received a lot of calls about the suitcase itself,” said Huls. “We want someone with firsthand information about the young man.”

Huls said the child was a young black male police believe to be around the age of 5, who was 46 inches tall and weighed about 40 pounds.

He said the boy was clothed and in found clean in a Las Vegas suitcase near Pekin by a mushroom hunter in mid-April.

“He appeared to be somewhat cared for,” said Huls. “It’s not what you would expect. Nothing on the body that the doctors could find that would indicated a cause.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the toll-free number established for this case: 1-888-437-6432.

A memorial service for the boy will be held at Weathers Funeral Home on June 1 at 11a. Community members have donated money to pay for the service, burial and headstone.