A meticulous, renewed search for 5-year-old Lucas Hernandez in Chisholm Creek Park on Friday came up empty for Wichita police as the hunt for the boy who has been missing for nearly a week now continues.
Authorities had previously searched the park on Monday, but Officer Paul Cruz said “a new tip” prompted “a strategic search” of a portion of the park Friday afternoon. The search included K-9 units and Sedgwick County Sheriff’s deputies.
“We want to be very thorough,” Cruz said in a media briefing late Friday afternoon. “We want to make sure that we search every inch of this park that was of interest to us.”
Both entrances of the park were blocked Friday afternoon by Wichita police officers. Dozens of law enforcement vehicles were seen entering the park through the entrance off of North Oliver, near K-96. Just before 1:30 p.m., officers were seen conducting what appeared to be a grid search. They started at North Oliver and walked back into the park.
About 100 officers at a time have been assigned to try and find Lucas, who was reported missing about 6:15 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, in the 600 block of South Edgemoor. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office are helping. Vehicles belonging to the sheriff’s office also were spotted going into the park on Friday afternoon.
But they left the park shortly before 5 p.m. without finding Lucas.
“We are still asking the public to keep your eyes out,” Cruz said.
Police are encouraging the community to call the tip line, 316-383-4661, with any information about Lucas, Officer Charley Davidson said in an email.
Later on Friday, Cruz urged residents to share any information linked to Lucas, no matter “how insignificant it might be.”
The search has hit a dead end, Cruz said.
“At this point, we have no new locations that we identified,” he said.
When officers arrived at the home Feb. 17, police said, the boy’s 26-year-old stepmother said he was last seen about 3 p.m. that day in his bedroom before she showered and fell asleep.
The stepmother, Emily Glass, was arrested this week on suspicion of two counts of child endangerment involving Lucas and a 1-year-old child, police said. Glass has a 1-year-old daughter.
Officers have searched three parks: Dr. Glen Dey Park, Chisholm Creek Park and Harrison Park, in south Wichita which is near the apartment complex where Glass recently lived. Davidson didn’t have information on how long those searches lasted. He also said investigators thoroughly searched Lucas’ neighborhood.
Other areas, which police didn’t disclose, were searched on Tuesday, Davidson said. Police have used dogs, horses and a drone in the search.
Police have said that they found no evidence of an abduction, which is why an Amber Alert was not activated.
Lucas was born Dec. 3, 2012, has brown hair and brown eyes, is about 4 feet tall and weighs about 60 pounds. He was last seen wearing black sweats, white socks and a gray shirt with a bear on it.