Crime & Courts

Lucas Hernandez autopsy can't determine cause, manner of death

Timeline of the Lucas Hernandez investigation

On Feb. 17, 2018, Lucas Hernandez was reported missing. On May 24, he was found. Here is what happened leading up to Lucas going missing, in between, and after he was found.
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On Feb. 17, 2018, Lucas Hernandez was reported missing. On May 24, he was found. Here is what happened leading up to Lucas going missing, in between, and after he was found.

The mystery of what happened to 5-year-old Lucas Hernandez remains just that.

An autopsy couldn’t determine how the Wichita boy died, according to an autopsy report released Wednesday.

Advanced decomposition limited the ability to examine the remains, and the cause and manner of Lucas' death are both “Undetermined,” the report says.

Lucas was missing for more than three months when his father’s live-in girlfriend, Emily Glass, led a private investigator to his body, under a remote bridge in rural Harvey County on May 24. About two weeks later, she committed suicide, according to an autopsy report that became available Wednesday.

Because the question of how Lucas died remains unresolved, "There will never be an end for our family," said Cyndi Norman, Lucas' paternal grandmother. "So many questions will go unanswered now that she (Glass) is gone."

Lucas’ body — clad in a T-shirt and pants — was found “in a state of advanced decomposition under a pile of debris in a culvert” on May 24, the autopsy report notes. Dental records identified the remains.

The day after the body was found, the autopsy was done at the Sedgwick County Regional Forensic Science Center.

X-rays showed “no obvious skeletal trauma,” and the ability to examine the soft tissue was limited, the report said.

The lower extremities of the body were better preserved than the upper portion.

The final opinion in the report found that a review of the "circumstances of death, medical history, toxicological studies and forensic anthropology examination did not reveal a definitive cause of death."

Peer Moore-Jansen, a Wichita State University anthropologist, also examined the remains.

District Attorney Marc Bennett said in a statement Wednesday afternoon that he had received a copy of Lucas' final autopsy report. "I will review the findings and meet again with investigators from the Wichita Police Department. I expect to be able to make a formal announcement early next month."

Hunter Glass, a media consultant for North Carolina private investigator David Marshburn, who was led to Lucas' body by Glass, emailed a statement to The Eagle on Wednesday afternoon: "With the recent release of the autopsy reports we are no closer to understanding the motive and days preceding young Lucas Hernandez death. The untimely, self inflicted demise of Stepmother Emily Glass will continue to leave a void that cannot be filled. Lucas will not get his day in court. His final voice kept silent."

Glass reported Lucas missing on Feb. 17. At the time, she told police that the boy disappeared 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.

A community memorial service for Lucas will be held Saturday at Wichita State University's Hughes Metropolitan Complex.

No charges will be filed Wednesday in the death of Lucas Hernandez, according to District Attorney Marc Bennett. Bennett said investigators are continuing to follow newly developed leads and are awaiting the results of forensic examinations.

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