The body of Lucas Hernandez, a 5-year-old boy from Wichita who had been missing since February, was found under a bridge in Kansas Thursday night and his stepmother was arrested.
The Sedgwick County coroner’s office has identified the body of a child as that of Lucas Hernandez. Police say the boy’s identity was confirmed through an autopsy and dental records.
Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay said that the 5-year-old’s stepmother, Emily Glass, led a private investigator named David Marshburn to the remains, which were hidden under a bridge on a gravel road in Sedgwick, about 20 miles north of Wichita.
Marshburn tells The Associated Press that they drove around the general area for about four hours trying to find the body. He says it’s a huge area, and all the bridges and woods in it seemingly looked the same. The area also looked different in summer than it did in February when the boy was reported missing.
Ramsay says Marshburn contacted police. Police retrieved the body and arrested Glass on Thursday on suspicion of interfering with a law enforcement officer and obstruction.
Glass reported Lucas missing Feb. 17, saying she fell asleep after a shower and woke up to find him missing. She has not been charged in his disappearance.
The boy’s father, Jonathan Hernandez, was not at home when his son disappeared.
KWCH reports that Ramsay couldn’t say if anyone else might be arrested or questioned in the case since it is still an active investigation.
According to the Wichita Eagle, court documents revealed that Lucas had been seen with bruises – including one that looked the shape of a clothing iron – and other physical injuries multiple times in the year before he disappeared. In January, about a month before Lucas disappeared, the paper reports that a school nurse said that he came to school with so many injuries to his face that he looked like he’d been in a fight.
The Eagle reports that according to the documents, Glass is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, has anger problems and has used heroin and methamphetamine. She also reportedly has a criminal history dating back to 2003, which includes arrests for trespassing, stealing a vehicle, larceny and domestic violence.
On the night before he disappeared, the paper reports that Glass told police she smoked marijuana and left the 5-year-old home alone while she took her 1-year-old daughter to Olive Garden to eat. She was acquitted of child endangerment for allegedly driving with her daughter while high.
The Eagle also reported that police had been called to the child’s home multiple times for incidents involving violence between Glass and the boy’s father.