Crime & Courts

Horrific new details emerge in court document about missing 5-year-old Lucas Hernandez

A billboard near downtown Wichita asked for help in locating 5-year-old Lucas Hernandez.  His body was found under a rural bridge in Harvey County in  May.
A billboard near downtown Wichita asked for help in locating 5-year-old Lucas Hernandez. His body was found under a rural bridge in Harvey County in May. File/The Wichita Eagle

Correction: An earlier version of the story should have said his stepmother said he fell off monkey bars.

The bruises on Lucas Hernandez kept showing up. Relatives saw them. The school nurse counted nine of them and said it looked like he had been in a fight. His injuries were reported to the state — twice.

A court document filed by a prosecutor and viewed by The Eagle sheds light on what happened to 5-year-old Lucas before he disappeared from his Wichita home almost two months ago. It gives the widest, most detailed view so far of the investigation of his disappearance. The mystery of the missing boy has transfixed thousands of people. Various social media groups named after Lucas and devoted to finding him have sprung up. Some are sharing pictures of the bruising.

In seven single-spaced pages, the child-in-need-of-care petition describes a dysfunctional and violent household.

It says Emily Glass, Lucas' 26-year-old stepmother, has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, has difficulty controlling her anger and has experimented with methamphetamine and heroin.

Glass, the report says, was thought to be targeting Lucas due to her anger with the boy's father. The pre-kindergartner had bruises most often after Glass and the father fought, the state's child protection agency was told.

The day before Lucas was reported missing, a witness saw a young boy standing at the front door of the home. Glass later admitted to leaving the 5-year-old home alone that day while she went to eat at Olive Garden.

Those details are part of a Sedgwick County juvenile court document that provides the most complete account of abuse that Lucas allegedly suffered.

Emily Glass makes her first appearance in court Monday afternoon, Feb. 26, 2018. Glass, charged with child endangerment, is the stepmom of missing Wichita 5-year-old Lucas Hernandez.

The information is in a child-in-need-of-care petition filed Feb. 23 and signed by Assistant District Attorney Mark Jordan, arguing that Glass’ 1-year-old daughter was not safe in her home. The child was placed in police protective custody and taken to the Wichita Children's Home.

On Wednesday, juvenile court Judge Kevin Smith allowed an Eagle reporter to view the petition and take notes for this article. After an April 27 hearing on the case, it will be closed to the public, Smith said.

The document in large part deals with what happened to Lucas before Feb. 17, the Saturday that Glass reported him missing. Four days after she called police, they arrested her on suspicion of endangering Lucas and the girl. Prosecutors charged her only with endangering the girl, and she remains in jail on a $50,000 bond.

Police, the FBI and law enforcement and volunteer search teams have found no sign of Lucas.

Police have said they don’t think he was abducted or walked away from his home on South Edgemoor, where the family had just moved. Glass stayed home with the two children while his father, Jonathan Hernandez, worked out of state for weeks at a time. At the time Lucas was reported missing, his biological mother, Jamie Taylor, lived in the Kansas City area.

Glass' defense attorney couldn’t be reached for comment.

Hernandez, who is identified in the document as Glass’ fiance, hasn’t responded to messages left by The Eagle. The document describes him as the “alleged father” of the 1-year-old girl.

The timeline on Lucas begins on Feb. 14, 2015: Lucas' biological mother, Taylor, asked police to check on Lucas. Police contacted Hernandez and Lucas, and "noted Lucas was 'fine,'" it says.

Feb. 22, 2016: Glass reported that she and Hernandez were arguing, that he was “throwing property outside.” A month and a half later, the document says, police arrested the couple for “fighting/domestic violence.”

March 2017: Someone saw Lucas with “temporary tattoos that were hiding bruises.” Lucas was reported to have been covered “from head to toe in bruises,” according to a report to the Kansas Department for Children and Families on Feb. 19, two days after Glass told police he had disappeared. The person said Lucas had a bruise on his bottom “that looked like the shape of a clothes iron. … Lucas reportedly stated (Glass) had caused the bruises,” the document says.

May 16, 2017: DCF, the Kansas child protection agency, received the first of two reports of suspected abuse involving Lucas. Glass and an “unknown perpetrator” were suspected. The boy reportedly had bruising in the shape of a hand on his left arm, bruising on his left cheek and on his bottom.

“It was reported that when asked about his bruises, all Lucas would say is that (Glass) 'doesn’t like me any more,'" it says.

DCF investigated, “determined that there was not enough evidence to support the allegation. DCF closed the case.”

A separate entry says that Glass said Lucas had bruises from “playing around the house.”

Late October 2017: While Glass and Lucas visited Hernandez in Carlsbad, N.M., Lucas had two black eyes, the report said. That was reported to New Mexico’s child protection services agency on Nov. 8, 2017. According to the report, he had bruises most often after Glass and Hernandez fought. Glass “may have been targeting Lucas due to her anger” with the boy’s father, the report said. Glass allegedly was using marijuana around the time she was breastfeeding her daughter.

DCF contacted the New Mexico agency, which provided its report, saying it had investigated and determined the allegations were unfounded. The report was not assigned for further review.

Dec. 3, 2017: Someone saw Lucas with bruises on his arms and a large bruise on his forehead, according to a report DCF received on Feb. 19, two days after he was reported missing. Lucas said that Glass “became angry and threw a water bottle at his face,” the document says. The bruise on his forehead was reported to be about 2 1/2 inches long and an inch wide.

Dec. 16, 2017: Taylor — Lucas’ mother — was suspected of battery against his stepmother, Glass, the document says. It says that Glass was supposed to pick up Lucas from school but fell asleep with his father.

Emily Glass, stepmother of missing 5-year-old Lucas Hernandez, was in court Wednesday afternoon requesting her bond be lowered for the child endangerment of her 1 year old daughter.

Jan. 22, 2018: Lucas came to Beech Elementary School with nine abrasions and bruises, according to an interview of the school nurse by a DCF social worker on Feb. 20, three days after his stepmother reported him missing.

Lucas and his stepmother said he had fallen off monkey bars, but the school nurse said, “It looked like he had been in a fight.”

The nurse measured the abrasions or bruises on his left elbow, right knee, forehead, left upper eyelid, left eyebrow, left cheek, right eyelid, right cheek and nose. The bruises on his cheek and right eyelid were swelling. The largest injury — the scrape on his nose — was about 3 inches long.

Jan. 23, 2018: The day after the school nurse saw the injuries, Lucas came to her office with a stomachache. The school nurse called Glass, who picked up Lucas, and he returned to school two days later with a note from a pediatric nurse practitioner at GraceMed Jardine Clinic. The note stated, ‘Patient’s injuries are consistent with a fall."

The school nurse said that Lucas missed school on Feb. 1 because he was throwing up at school. He vomited again on Feb. 6, and Glass picked him up. He missed the next two days of school.

Feb. 5, 2018: Although the report is mostly about Lucas, it also deals with Glass' two elementary school age sons from a previous relationship who visit her from time to time. In February, DCF received a report alleging that Hernandez, Lucas’ father, “smacked” one of Glass’ two sons during a visit. It left a hand print on the boy’s chest, the father of Glass’ son said. DCF assigned a social worker to investigate. The Sedgwick County Exploited and Missing Child Unit also investigated. According to the court document, filed Feb. 23, the investigation was ongoing.

Feb. 8, 2018: That afternoon, a DCF social worker interviewed Glass’ son at his school. He said he got into trouble for spraying air freshener and showed how Hernandez pushed him onto a couch, the document says. The boy said his mother witnessed it and that Hernandez “used bad words at” his mother. No marks were visible on the boy’s chest. Her son said that Hernandez also “uses loud voices” with Lucas. The social worker and police detective assigned to the investigation couldn’t contact Hernandez.

Feb. 9, 2018: Around 5:30 a.m., Hernandez left for New Mexico. Hernandez works in the oil field industry and is usually gone for 20 days.

Also on Feb. 9, 2018: Lucas came to school for the last time. He again had a doctor’s note, this time stating he had a stomach virus. The school nurse said that when she found out that he had not been at school, she left two voice messages with Glass.

Feb. 16, 2018: It was a Friday, the day before Glass reported Lucas missing. He was in his room watching a movie while she was cleaning, Glass later told a police detective. She said she went to the garage and smoked marijuana, became hungry and drove with her 1-year-old daughter to the Olive Garden restaurant near Rock and Central.

Glass “admitted she left 5 year old Lucas at home alone,” the document says. “She said she checked on Lucas before she left and he was asleep.” She said she was at the restaurant for about an hour before returning home with her daughter.

Feb. 17, 2018: Police were dispatched to Glass’ home in the 600 block of South Edgemoor after she reported Lucas missing. She told officers that she last saw Lucas at around 3 p.m., that he was in his bedroom playing a game.

Glass told police that Lucas’ mother, Taylor, last saw Lucas in December when the two women “were involved in a physical altercation at Lucas’ school,” the document says. Glass accused Taylor of being a drug addict and said Taylor was not supposed to be around Lucas.

When a police officer called Taylor, she confirmed that she lived in Kansas City, Mo., and had last seen Lucas in December. After the officer told Taylor that Lucas was missing, she said Glass has history of abusing Lucas and a history of drug abuse, the document says.

Glass also told police that earlier that day she went to the garage, smoked a cigarette and talked to Hernandez by phone. She went inside, took a shower, noticed that Lucas was asleep and laid down for the nap. When she woke up around 6 p.m., she changed her daughter’s diaper. She looked around the house and couldn’t find Lucas. She noted the back door was open about three-quarters of an inch because it wouldn’t shut.

Feb. 18, 2018: A police detective interviewed the father of Glass’ sons, who said he had primary custody and that during the custody case he found out that Glass experimented with meth and heroin and been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, the document says. He thought she might be currently using drugs because she was losing weight and acting erratically. He said he knew of concerns about domestic violence between Glass and Hernandez in front of the children and that Glass’ daughter had possibly been hurt, it says.

Feb. 21, 2018: Police arrested Glass on suspicion of endangering Lucas and her 1-year-old daughter.

Feb. 23, 2018: A prosecutor filed the child-in-need-of-care petition for Glass’ 1-year-old daughter, saying that Glass had failed to provide a “safe and stable living environment,” had admitted to smoking marijuana and then driving with the girl, had left Lucas alone at home, had a history of violence with Hernandez, had poor judgment and substance abuse issues and was in jail.

The petition also cited Glass’ criminal history from 2003 to 2017, including arrests for larceny, trespassing, stealing a vehicle, domestic violence and destruction of property.

The petition also contends that Hernandez was not an appropriate placement for the child either.

At the time the document was filed, it said, DCF had yet to find relatives who would be an appropriate placement for the girl. It said an "emergency exists which threatens the safety of the child."

Several dozen members of the public searched Chisholm Creek Park early Monday morning (Feb. 26, 2018) for missing 5-year-old Lucas Hernandez. Lucas has been missing for more than a week.

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