Friends of family mourn loss of toddler in pit bull attack

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staff, Gazette
Friday, March 8, 2013

— As the Walworth County Sheriff’s Office continued to investigate a Wednesday dog attack that killed a 14-month-old boy, friends of the toddler’s family mourned their loss.

The boy, identified by a family friend as Daxton Borchardt, was at his babysitter’s home in the town of Walworth when the woman’s dogs attacked them Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.

The toddler was pronounced dead hours later, according to a news release.

One friend of the boy’s parents, Paul Berg, said his daughter was born the day before Dax, as he was known, and the two toddlers played together on weekends.

“He would run everywhere,” Berg said about the boy.

Sitting in his truck outside the home that was the scene of the attack, Berg said he and his wife tried to comfort the boy’s grieving parents Wednesday night.

“They went home last night to all of his toys and his pictures,” Berg said. “I can’t even imagine it.”

The boy’s babysitter, Susan Iwicki, called 911 just after 12:46 p.m. Wednesday, saying she and the boy were under attack from her two pit bulls, according to a sheriff’s office news release.

A deputy in the area was at Iwicki’s home at N2037 N. Lakeshore Drive minutes after the call came in, Capt. Dana Nigbor said.

The boy and Iwicki, who is a friend of the boy’s parents, both were injured in the attack and were taken to Mercy-Walworth Hospital, authorities said.

The toddler later was taken by Flight For Life to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Wauwatosa, an official said, where he was pronounced dead just after 3:30 p.m.

There was no update available on Iwicki’s condition, Nigbor said.

No one else was in Iwicki’s home during the incident, which happened outdoors, Nigbor said. There was no indication of why the dogs attacked.

Authorities took the animals off the property and they were euthanized, according to the sheriff’s office.

The address where the attack occurred includes a large house in front and what appears to be an old barn converted into apartments in the rear. It sits on a winding road in the hills above Geneva Lake’s west shore, near George Williams College of Aurora University.

Berg said Iwicki lived in the rear apartments. A man walking his dog on the property Thursday afternoon declined to comment.

The Walworth County Sheriff’s Office was looking into the incident as a death investigation—not as a criminal incident—as of Thursday morning, Nigbor said.

She did not anticipate criminal charges being filed in the boy’s death “unless something drastically changes,” Nigbor said.

Berg said the Borchardt family is making funeral arrangements at Monroe Funeral Home in Delavan.

The boy’s father, a disc jockey, is known for playing music weekend nights at New Horizons Bar and Grill in Delavan and Reddroom in Elkhorn, where he has been a DJ for 10 years.

Friends have set up the Daxton Borchardt Memorial Fund at Associated Bank for anyone who wants to donate, Reddroom owner Redd Messerschmidt said.

The bar is also looking into having a benefit night to help the family, Messerschmidt said.

“If he needs anything, I’ll be here,” he said.

Berg said it was difficult to make sense of the boy’s death.

“Why did it happen? You might not ever know,” he said.

“On your deathbed, maybe you’ll find out.”

His heart goes out to the boy’s parents, who he said are grappling with the monumental loss.

“They’ve got a crib, and all that stuff,” he added. “What do you do with it?”

Last updated: 7:58 am Monday, April 29, 2013

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