As of Tuesday, March 6, no one has seen missing Wichita boy, 5-year-old Lucas Hernandez, for 17 excruciating days. Since the little boy vanished without a trace while in the care of his stepmother, 26-year-old Emily Glass, rumors that he had potentially endured physical abuse behind closed doors have surfaced. According to some of Lucas’ family members, they had seen him with visible bruising on several occasions in 2017; they claim that their suspicions of abuse were reported to authorities in both Kansas and New Mexico, but to no avail.
Now, reports KWCH 12, a source involved in the search for Lucas Hernandez is drawing a chilling comparison between his disappearance and another high-profile missing child case. According to Texas EquuSearch founder Tim Miller, whose group is assisting the Wichita Police Department with their search for Lucas Hernandez, he believes that Lucas’ case is similar to that of Caylee Anthony’s in Florida.
Caylee Anthony disappeared in June of 2008, spawning a massive search effort that went on for months before the remains of the 2-year-old were found not far from her grandparents’ home. Tim Miller assisted in the search for Anthony and even went to the toddler’s funeral after his efforts ended in tragedy. Now, Miller says he appears to be involved in a case much like Caylee’s.
“After we went to Caylee’s funeral I said I never want to do one of these cases again, and right now it appears as though we are here.”
Ultimately, Caylee Anthony’s own mother, Casey Anthony, was charged with first-degree murder in connection with the tot’s disappearance and death. Prosecutors alleged that Caylee had been deliberately killed using chloroform so that Casey could pursue a “party lifestyle” without the encumbrance of a small child. Casey Anthony’s defense team argued that Caylee had accidentally drowned in her grandparents’ pool and, in a panic, Casey had hidden her daughter’s body.
Casey Anthony was acquitted of her daughter’s murder and is currently living in South Florida.
Miller has been unable to comment publicly regarding where he has searched for Lucas Hernandez due to the open police investigation into the boy’s disappearance. However, in an interview with KWCH 12, he claimed that he feels that the case has little chance of having a happy ending. The Texas EquuSearch founder added that he believes that “one person knows” what happened to Lucas when he disappeared on February 17. Miller did not name that person, but simply drew a parallel between the Hernandez case and that of Caylee Anthony.
“This feels way too familiar and unfortunately I think there’s one person who knows, and they just aren’t saying anything. So everyone is working as hard as they can.”
Since his disappearance, Lucas Hernandez’s stepmother has been arrested and charged with child endangerment related to another child in her care. She remains behind bars as the search for Lucas has now entered its third week.
Unfortunately, Tim Miller says that he doesn’t believe that Lucas Hernandez will be “found the way we want him to be found.” Like Caylee Anthony, Miller claims that he believes his search for the missing 5-year-old will result in nothing more than a funeral and closure for Lucas’ loved ones.
“We don’t sugarcoat anything, if Lucas is found he certainly is not going to be found the way we want him to be found, and I think the most we can hope for right now is to one day very soon go to a funeral.”
The Wichita Police Department has been joined by the FBI in their search for Lucas Hernandez, a search which has included several vast local parks. From the beginning, investigators have claimed that they didn’t believe that the missing 5-year-old boy had been abducted, which is why an Amber Alert was never issued in the case. Authorities have released few details of their criminal investigation into the disappearance to the public. However, as The Wichita Eagle reports, at least one quote attributed to a police officer indicates that (in addition to not believing that Lucas was kidnapped), investigators also don’t believe that Lucas Hernandez walked away from his home on his own last month.
In a quote originally posted on the Facebook page of Missing Pieces Network and attributed to Wichita police Captain Brent Allred (and later verified by police spokesperson Charley Davidson), Captain Allred claims that he believes Lucas didn’t “just walk out of the house,” and that “somebody or somebodies that knows something” about what happened to the 5-year-old.
“[I believe] Lucas just didn’t walk out of the house. There’s about Lucas and maybe someone will hear something and give us that information that will lead us to Lucas.”
Lucas was first reported missing by his stepmother at just after 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 17. She claimed that she had last seen the boy three hours earlier when she put him down for an afternoon nap before taking a shower and a nap herself. She told police that when she woke, she saw that Lucas was gone and called the police. Lucas’ custodial biological father was reportedly working out of state at the time of his son’s disappearance.
Anyone with any information about the whereabouts of Lucas Hernandez is asked to contact the Wichita Police Department at 316-383-4661. According to Texas EquuSearch founder Tim Miller, his group will continue to assist in the search for Lucas until they are no longer needed.