Crime & Courts

Lucas' stepmom led private investigator to Harvey County site, police chief says

The stepmother of Lucas Hernandez took a private investigator from North Carolina to the location where the body of a small person was found in Harvey County on Thursday evening, Wichita police said.

Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay said Friday morning that the body is "likely Lucas Hernandez." An autopsy will be conducted today to confirm the identity, he said.

District Attorney Marc Bennett said autopsy results and evidence collected by law enforcement will be reviewed early next week. Additional information will be released then. He didn't say what evidence was collected.

Ramsay said Emily Glass — the stepmother who reported Lucas missing more than three months ago — was still at the scene when police arrived Thursday evening.

Glass was booked into jail later that night on suspicion of interfering with a law enforcement officer and obstruction. Her bond has been set to $250,000.

Police declined to say what conversations they've had with Glass since Thursday.

The body was found under a bridge near southeast 96th Street and Woodlawn, police said, just north of the Sedgwick/Harvey county line.

Police have said that Glass reported Lucas missing from their home in the 600 block of South Edgemoor around 6 p.m. Feb. 17, a Saturday. Glass, 27, told police that she awoke from a nap to discover him missing from the home. They had recently moved into the corner rental home. His father, Jonathan Hernandez, was away.

The family later hired a private investigator and created a GoFundMe to raise money for the costs.

That investigator — David Marshburn — immediately called Wichita police, who called Harvey County detectives to help.

“Please understand that law enforcement officials must operate an investigation within strict legal bounds, which may not apply to private investigators,” Ramsay said.

He wouldn’t say if Marshburn acted in any way outside of normal law enforcement boundaries to find Lucas. He didn't elaborate on what those legal bounds are.

Police have said that they found no evidence of an abduction and that they don’t think Lucas, a prekindergarten student, just walked away.

Four days after Glass reported him missing, police announced that they arrested her on suspicion of endangering Lucas and her 1-year-old daughter, but prosecutors charged her only with endangering the girl. Last week, a jury found Glass not guilty of the misdemeanor charge involving the girl.

Ramsay said police have mobilized “significant personnel and volunteers and searched thousands of acres to find Lucas.”

He thanked those volunteers and groups for their help in the investigation.

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