Crime & Courts

Autopsy shows boy's body is that of missing 5-year-old Lucas Hernandez

Wichita police on Friday afternoon said by email that the little body found yesterday hidden beneath a rural Harvey County bridge has been positively identified as that of missing 5-year-old Lucas Hernandez.

"The Sedgwick County Coroner’s Office has identified the body of an unknown child discovered Thursday evening in Harvey County as 5-year-old Lucas Hernandez," the department said in a written statement released just before 3 p.m. Friday.

"The boy’s identity was confirmed through an autopsy and dental records," the statement said. "A thorough exam of evidence continues and no further information is available at this time."

What caused Lucas' death is still unknown. His cause and manner of death wasn't discussed in the Police Department's email.

A three-month-long search for Lucas culminated in the area of southeast 96th Street and Woodlawn Road on Thursday when the boy's stepmom, 27-year-old Emily Glass, led a private investigator to his body, Wichita police Chief Gordon Ramsay said during a news conference Friday morning.

When Ramsay spoke, the body had not yet been positively identified as Lucas. But Ramsay said it was likely his because Glass took the investigator, David Marshburn of North Carolina, there and because of other information revealed during the investigation. Family of Lucas' on Thursday night said they were unofficially told then that the body belonged to him.

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Glass reported Lucas as missing on Feb. 17 — several days after he was last seen at school. She told police at the time that he disappeared from his bedroom while she was taking an afternoon nap. Authorities, however, didn't believe he had walked away from his South Edgemoor home on his own and said there was no sign he had been abducted.

Glass was arrested by Wichita police at 9:15 p.m. Thursday on suspicion of interfering with a law enforcement investigation. She was booked into the Sedgwick County Jail at 10:34 p.m. and remains there in lieu of $250,000 bond.

The arrest is her second in recent months. She was released from jail last week after a jury acquitted her of child endangerment in a case involving her own 1-year-old daughter.

After the not-guilty verdict, Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett called Glass a person of interest and a witness in Lucas' disappearance.

As of Friday, Glass had not been formally charged in court with any crime related to the case.

Amy Renee Leiker: 316-268-6644, @amyreneeleiker