Official released the autopsy and toxicology results on Tuesday of 5-year-old Lucas Hernandez to the Sedgwick County District Court, and although a Kansas Medical Examiner indicated the cause of death is undetermined, medical experts who joined Nancy Grace on “Crime Stories” feel that drugs could be a possible reason that led to his demise.
Board Certified physician, toxicologist, and Medical Examiner Dr. William Morrone, told Nancy Grace that the autopsy results indicated a chemical stimulant, beta-phenethylamine, was found little Lucas’ liver.
“The official manner of death is listed as undetermined. But when you go to the evidence, the liver and the kidney, there is positive drug result for something called beta-phenethylamine, and phenethylamine is a stimulant. So we do know there’s a stimulant, a central nervous system’s in the remains of this 5-year-old child.”
Dr. Morrone also said that had the drug been methamphetamine, it would have come back from the toxicology lab stating as such. However, phenethylamine, Morrone explained, is in the same “family” as methamphetamines and sold in products called “bath salts,” an unregulated stimulant that can cause seizures and heart attacks.
“These phenethylamines are just as bad as methamphetamines and they are sold in rural areas, oftentimes competing with methamphetamine, just like cocaine would be used in an urban center. So think of it as a level of stimulant that you would find buying meth from a drug dealer or buying cocaine from a drug dealer and forget the idea that they call it bath salts! It’s a terribly unregulated stimulant.”
Forensics expert and death investigator, Joseph Scott Morgan, wasn’t quite sure if bath salts were the answer. He stated Lucas would have had to been exposed to an ample amount of the stimulant on an ongoing, prolonged basis for it to stay in his system. Morgan also mentioned that beta-phenethylamine can also be a natural chemical produced during human decomposition or can be absorbed through decaying plant life.
“It should considered that although phenethylamine is associated chemically with stimulants, the absence of other associated agents such as amphetamines leaves many questions. What the public needs to understand is that phenethylamine can be found close in nature and closely connected to algae and fungi. Given this child’s close proximity to decaying plant life, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that phenethylamine may have been found in his body.”
“Had someone exposed him passively to this drug? The problem with that is that in order to have been passively exposed, and what I mean by that is that if she’s [Emily Glass] using some kind of synthetic marijuana, it would have to be in tremendous concentration where he would constantly be exposed to it, where it’s building up in his liver and holding on,” Morgan continued. “Remember, the soft tissue is completely gone….I don’t know what else this kid had on board, but as Dr. Morrone so put, the absence of methamphetamine…I’m at a loss at this point in time.”
Does this mean the public will never know what happened to Lucas? Not necessarily. According to Atlanta Juvenile Judge and child welfare advocate, Ashley Willcott, someone else may know what happened to the little boy, especially if he was around an adult who used bath salts.
“Somebody knows what happens to this child,” Willcott said. “There may have been someone else present. In court, I do not see individuals come in that have done bath salts by themselves with nobody else there. I believe someone else does know what happened and they need to come forward.”
Meanwhile, the autopsy results for Emily Glass, the prime suspect in Lucas’ death and the last person to see the child alive, confirmed she shot herself in the forehead with an AR-15 assault rifle. Suicide notes left at the scene and the gun’s location after death were both indications that Glass took her own life.
Further, the “tremendous amount of trauma” to her head and damage to the skull, according to Dr. Morrone, is consistent with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Glass, the live-in girlfriend of Lucas’ father, led a private investigator to the little boy’s remains on May 24, a little over three months after she reported him missing. She initially claimed she woke up from a nap to find Lucas gone, but later said that she woke up one morning and Lucas was deceased in his bed. She ended her life two weeks after she divulged where she reportedly hid Lucas’ remains.
[Feature Photo: Lucas Hernandez/Handout]