Stepmom Dies in Apparent Suicide After Leading Investigator to Body of Missing 5-Year-Old Kansas Boy
The stepmom of a long-missing 5-year-old Kansas boy was found dead from an apparent suicide on Friday, 15 days after she led an investigator to her stepson’s body, PEOPLE confirms.
Emily Glass, 27, was initially arrested on suspicion of obstructing justice and interfering with a law enforcement officer after authorities recovered the remains of Lucas Hernandez, who had been reported missing on Feb. 17. Days after her arrest, however, Glass was released.
Wichita police said at a Friday news conference that the investigation into Lucas’ disappearance and death is continuing. A coroner has not yet ruled on how he died.
Authorities would not say how Glass dying affects their investigation or whether they are considering other possible suspects in the case.
Lucas’ father, 34-year-old Jonathan Hernandez, called 911 at 1:40 a.m. Friday to report that he’d come home and found Glass’ body, according to police.
Authorities who responded to the address found a rifle at her feet and three “suicide notes” at the residence, police said.
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
While declining to say whether there was anything revealed about the case in those notes, police spokesman Charley Davidson said, “It was reported to us as a suicide” and would be investigated as such.
Glass had been questioned about the boy’s disappearance and death and was arrested on May 24 after leading a private investigator to Lucas’ body under a bridge in rural Harvey County, according to police. On May 30, she was freed.
“No charges are being filed today while investigators continue to follow up on newly developed leads and await the results of the forensic examination,” the district attorney said then.
On the day Lucas was reported missing, Glass told authorities that she last saw him in his bedroom about 3 p.m. before she took a shower and fell asleep, police said at the time. She said that when she woke up, he was gone.
• It was the scandal that rocked America’s most storied political family and changed the course of presidential history. PEOPLE‘s first-ever podcast, Cover-Up, dives into the Chappaquiddick scandal and attempts to piece together what happened in the hours after Ted Kennedy’s car went over a narrow wooden bridge, killing his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne. Subscribe now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play or wherever podcasts are available.
After Lucas was declared missing, the FBI and local authorities spent weeks searching for him.
Following news of Glass’ death on Friday, the Hernandez family issued a statement saying they “still want justice,” according to local TV station KWCH.
“Today Emily Glass chose to end her own life. We are deeply shocked and saddened by this turn of events,” the family said.
“Another mother and father have lost a child,” their statement continued. “Children have lost their mother, and a family will have to grieve someone they loved. We know from experience how heartbreaking and tragic this will be for them.”
Hernandez’s family said Glass’ death was “not the ending we would have chosen for Emily.”
“She was the only person on this earth who could tell us what the last moment’s of our child’s life were like,” the family said. “We wanted answers and we still want justice. Our hope is that the truth will still come out, that there will be answers to the many questions we have.
“Please keep Emily’s family in your thoughts and prayers, along with ours. None of us wanted or expected all this loss and devastation that has come to pass. Give both of our families time to process this unexpected death.”
The statement was signed by Jonathan Hernandez and Jamie Taylor-Orr, Lucas’ mom.