The remains of Lucas Hernandez, a 5-year-old boy from Wichita, Kansas, who was declared missing in February has been found. His remains were discovered on Thursday by a searcher underneath a bridge on a gravel road, along 96th street in southeast Harvey County.
According to KAKE, Lucas’ grandmother, Robin Taylor, confirmed that the remains found were indeed that of her grandson.
The bridge under which the remains were found is about a quarter of a mile from the closest house. Harvey County Sheriff, Chad Gay, told the press that the remains were deposited in a way that they were invisible from the top of the bridge.
Misty Cox, leader of a search organization called Kansas Search Investigation, said she had scoured the nearby area just over a month before, looking for Lucas. Now that the remains had been found, she felt a sense of relief knowing that they could now lay their child to rest.
Earlier in February, Lucas’ stepmother, Emely Glass, had been arrested in connection with his disappearance on February 17. Glass claimed she woke up from a nap only to notice Lucas was nowhere in the house.
She was held on suspicion of endangering the lives of Lucan and her 1-year-old daughter. A neighbor speaking with KAKE said just days before the boy disappeared, he looked "extremely malnourished." In the end, Glass was released and found not guilty.
On Thursday night, she was again arrested, this time on suspicion of interfering with a police investigation and obstruction. District Attorney Mark Bennett says hours before the remains were found, Glass was seen in the area around the bridge. It is likely that the charges of misdemeanor and endangerment may resurface now that Glass has been booked in jail.
The Finding Lucas group is here on scene as Wichita police investigate the area where Lucas Hernandez’s body was found. Grandmother has confirmed to KAKE News that the body is Lucas’s. @KAKEnews pic.twitter.com/d14NomHI7n— KAKE Jacklyn Chappell (@jacklynchapp) May 25, 2018
Later on Thursday night, several searchers and well-wishers of the family held a candlelight vigil in honor of Lucas.
In memory of Lucas Hernandez, heaven newest angel. This COMPLETELY breaks my heart!! 💔 I know that you will receive all the love and attention in heaven, that you should have received here on earth. We will never forget you Lucas!!...#LucasHernandez #Wichita #Kansas pic.twitter.com/1H2rXfk0Pk— Mickey VanDeren (@LtGovMickey) May 25, 2018
The fact remains that children turn up missing or run away, sometimes due to abuse. If a child is nowhere to be found, the first thing to do is call the police. Next, check your property carefully for any missing items, especially those belonging to the child.
Be sure to provide as much information about the missing child, as even the smallest detail may help in finding them. Also, the police are required to add a missing child’s information to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center Missing Person File.
Organizations like National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) also helps in cases of missing children to ensure proper communication between search parties and law enforcement. They also provide recommendations to families needing counselling.
And most of all, child abuse should not be tolerated. Always be quick to speak up if you notice a child is being abused by a parent or family member. You may be saving a life.