Police say they are investigating the death of Emily Glass
The only person of interest in the disappearance and death of 5-year-old Lucas Hernandez was found dead Friday morning in a home where she lived with the boy and his father.
A rifle by Emily Glass' feet, and three suicide notes were found in the house at 655 S. Edgemoor, police said. The boy's father, Jonathan Hernandez, 34, found Glass' body at about 1:30 a.m., Wichita police Officer Charley Davidson said.
While police haven't called her death a suicide and say the investigation is ongoing pending the completion of an autopsy, Hernandez and Lucas' mother, Jamie Taylor-Orr, released a statement Friday morning that began, "Today, Emily Glass chose to end her own life."
Hernandez has been "absolutely cooperative" in the police investigation, Davidson said.
District Attorney Marc Bennett said Glass' death won't bring an end to the investigation into what happened to Lucas Hernandez.
Lucas was reported missing by Glass on Feb. 17. At the time, she told police that the boy went missing from his bedroom while she was taking an afternoon nap. Police said they didn’t believe Lucas left on his own and that there was no sign he was abducted.
On May 24, Emily Glass led a private investigator to Lucas' body, which was found hidden underneath a rural Harvey County bridge, police said.
She was booked into jail on suspicion of interference with a law enforcement officer and obstruction but was released from jail on May 30 after Bennett announced he would not be filing charges in the boy's death that day.
Once a person is booked into jail on suspicion of a crime, as Glass was, they must be released from jail within a limited amount of time if they are not charged.
Bennett said on Friday that without the cause of Lucas' death, his office couldn't charge Glass last week.
"It never meant the case was over with," he said. "It just meant we needed more time."
On Friday, he added, investigators started receiving subpoenas back on the case.
Now, Glass' death has raised another question for Bennett's office.
What happens next?
"To be determined," the district attorney said. "We will continue this investigation until there is whatever resolution we can reach."
If it turns out he would have charged Glass, Bennett said he will release that information. He won't just close the case, he said, and "let people wonder" what happened during Lucas' final day.
Asked if there are other persons of interest, Bennett said Glass was the only one, but that doesn't mean there couldn't be other levels of culpability elsewhere.
"But the focus was on (Glass)," he said.
Neighbors woke up on Friday surprised to learn that Glass was even in the house. She and Hernandez had shared the rental.
Brooke Austin said she hasn't seen Glass since the day Lucas was reported missing.
Then at around 2 a.m. Friday, she woke up to police lights shining through her windows. About 10 to 15 squad cars were parked along Edgemoor and Gilbert — the street to the south of the house, she said.
Austin said she noticed Hernandez's truck outside, which she recognized from the past. She didn't see any car that belonged to Glass.
She never heard a gunshot.
"I didn't even know (Glass) was there," Austin said.
Other neighbors said they thought the house had been empty and were also surprised to learn that Glass was apparently inside it Friday morning. Since her release from jail, they only noticed a small light on in the kitchen.
At about 6 a.m., Austin said she saw dog handlers with what appeared to be two search dogs around Edgemoor.
In their statement, Taylor-Orr and Hernandez said, "We are deeply shocked and saddened by this turn of events. Another mother and father have lost a child. Children have lost their mother, and a family will have to grieve someone they loved. We know from experience how heartbreaking and tragic this will be for them.
"This is not the ending we would have chosen for Emily. She was the only person on this earth who could tell us what the last moments of our child's life were like. We wanted answers and we still want justice. Our hope is that the truth will still come out, that there will be answers to the many questions we have.
"Please keep Emily's family in your thoughts and prayers, along with ours. None of us wanted or expected all this loss and devastation that has come to pass. Give both of our families' time to process this unexpected death."
The private investigator who convinced Glass to show him where Lucas' body was, David Marshburn, of North Carolina, later released recordings of his time with Glass to the "Crime Stories with Nancy Grace" podcast. In them, Glass cries and says she doesn't want to go to jail.
"I can't do jail. I can't!" she sobs on the recording.
Later, Jonathan Hernandez told Grace that he didn't suspect Glass knew where the Lucas was. At the time of the initial 911 call, Hernandez said he believed Glass' account that Lucas went missing while she slept.
"I am quite a bit in disbelief that this is even possible," he says later in the interview. "I never, not one time, thought that she would've had any knowledge of his disappearance of where he would be. That just makes me even more shocked. It's not an easy thing to be able to process."
A statement from a spokesman for Marshburn sent to The Eagle on Friday evening said, in part: "David would ... like to remind people to understand that the family of Emily Glass are victims as well and to please keep that in mind during this time of grief. However David still sees the act as an injustice to Lucas, the Hernandez family."