As authorities continue to piece together information in hopes of learning how 5-year-old Lucas Hernandez died, the timeline of his disappearance remains clouded in uncertainty.
The working class neighborhood near downtown Wichita, Kansas, was quiet in early June as the house on South Edgemoor, where Lucas once lived, sat seemingly abandoned. Someone pasted a sign on the front door of the home, warning people that they would be recorded at all times while on the premises. A white sign stood in the front yard, placed there by a search team, asking people to stop leaving items in Lucas’ memory at the home, but instead to bring things to the recovery site in Harvey County, where the little boy’s remains were found last month.
A few neighbors told CrimeOnline they they never saw Lucas at all during the week prior to his reported disappearance on February 17. Despite claims that the landlord spotted Lucas peeking through on a window in the home on February 16, authorities haven’t confirmed the information to be accurate. CrimeOnline reached out to the landlord several times, but the calls remain unreturned.
Emily Glass, the live-in girlfriend of Lucas’ father, Jonathan Hernandez, indicated in a written statement to authorities in late February that she called the landlord to check on a “foul smell” on February 16. Yet, it’s still unclear whether the landlord stopped by at all on that particular day.
Lucas’ father, Jonathan Hernandez, left on February 9 from Wichita to New Mexico, for work. Glass was the sole caregiver for Lucas when Jonathan left. Extended paternal family members previously reported they had not seen Lucas in months. Jamie Orr, Lucas’ biological mother, told police she last saw Lucas in December, when she celebrated his fifth birthday with him. Although Orr had visitation rights with her son, Lucas spent the majority of his time living with his father, Glass, and his 1-year-old sister.
Lucas reportedly missed up to 10 days of school at Beech Elementary, where he attended a Pre-K program. Court documents indicate that on January 20, Lucas showed up to school with numerous scrapes, cuts, and abrasions, including a 3-inch scrape across his nose. Lucas began feeling sick and throwing up in the days following, prompting numerous school absences.
He last attended class on February 9. No one at the school saw or heard from the little boy since his last day of attendance. The school nurse stated she called Glass’ twice when she learned Lucas wasn’t at school, and left voice messages.
Neighbor Brooke Austin reportedly told local news that she “shook hands with Glass” and met Lucas and his “little brother” days before the little boy disappeared. In an attempt to find out the exact day Austin allegedly saw Lucas and to clear up discrepancies regarding a little brother (Lucas had a younger sister only), CrimeOnline reached out to her for comment, but she wasn’t readily available.
Another neighbor, Hesham Tiflat, also said he saw Lucas days before he disappeared. However, Tiflat provided The Wichita Eagle the exact date, time, and basic details surrounding the incident. According to Tiflat, Glass introduced herself, Lucas and her two biological children to Tiflat, who lives next door to her, on February 11. Tiflat explained that Glass’ older two boys wanted to play with his children, and while they were actively running around and playing, little Lucas stood off to the side with his hands in his pockets. Tiflan also noticed that Lucas had a black eye but didn’t think much of it.
Tiflat said that after about an hour of playing, the boys left with Glass. The neighbor said he had no contact with the family since then and never heard any sounds of them playing outside. In fact, he never saw Lucas again.
Glass told authorities the last time she saw Lucas was on February 17. She claimed she took a nap in the afternoon and when woke up a few hours later, he was gone. Glass later changed her story and on May 24, told private investigator David Marshburn that she woke on the morning of the February 17 to find Lucas deceased in his bed. She said she then “panicked.”
Check back with CrimeOnline as we continue to provide updates.
*Editor’s Note*: The original story read that Glass found Lucas deceased in her bed. It was updated to reflect Glass stated she found Lucas deceased in “his” bed.
[Feature Photo: Lucas Hernandez/Handout]