Stepmom dead after leading investigator to boy’s decomposing remains

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A woman who led an investigator to the decomposing remains of her 5-year-old stepson three months after reporting him missing was found dead early Friday in a Wichita home with three suicide notes and a rifle at her feet, police said.

Officer Charley Davidson said during a press briefing that officers responded around 1:40 a.m. after Jonathan Hernandez called to report finding his former girlfriend, Emily Glass, dead of a gunshot wound at his Wichita home.

Hernandez said in a statement that Glass killed herself. Davidson said the official cause of death will be determined by the coroner’s office. He said he didn’t know whether Glass was living at the home or who owned the rifle. Davidson did not say to whom the three suicide notes were addressed.

Glass, 27, reported Hernandez’ son, Lucas, missing on Feb. 17. She told police she last saw Lucas playing in his bedroom before she took a shower and fell asleep. Glass led a private investigator to Lucas’ body on May 24.

Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett said Friday afternoon that the investigation will continue despite the death of Glass, who was the primary person of interest in the case. He said her death changes the dynamic of the investigation but it’s possible other people might have “levels of culpability” in Lucas’ death. He also promised to announce results to the public even if investigators determine no charges would be filed, or that Glass would have been the only person charged.

“We’re working on it, we will continue to work on it,” Bennett said. “When we have reached a resolution, there will be a public accounting in some fashion.”

Glass took David Marshburn, a private investigator hired by Lucas’ father, to the boy’s decaying remains. The boy’s body had been hidden under a culvert bridge about 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Wichita and was covered with debris.

Police arrested Glass on suspicion of lying to authorities, but she was freed and prosecutors never charged her in Lucas’ death. Bennett said Friday Glass couldn’t be charged before her release because the autopsy hadn’t yet determined how Lucas died.

It’s unclear if that determination will ever be made because of his body’s decayed condition.

In an interview for the podcast “Crime Stories with Nancy Grace” that aired Monday, Hernandez said he no longer believes or supports Glass and that he is “a bit confused by” her release from jail. Hernandez also told Grace that Glass told the private investigator she had panicked after she found Lucas dead in his bed one evening or morning. The podcast included part of a recording captured by Marshburn in which Glass said in a shaky voice: “I did Lucas so wrong. I did him wrong.”

The Wichita Eagle reports that Hernandez and Lucas’ mother, Jamie Taylor-Orr, said in a statement released Friday that Glass “chose to end her own life.”

“This is not the ending we would have chosen for Emily. She was the only person on this earth who could tell us what the last moments of our child’s life were like,” the statement 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.”

Hernandez was not at home when Lucas disappeared. Glass cared for her daughter and Lucas while Hernandez worked out of state for weeks at a time. Taylor-Orr didn’t live in the Wichita area when Lucas disappeared.

Glass was earlier acquitted of child endangerment in an unrelated case involving her then-1-year-old daughter. Prosecutors allege Glass smoked marijuana then drove the girl to a restaurant. This occurred one day before Lucas was reported missing.

Court documents filed in the endangerment case say Lucas was frequently seen with bruises and cuts, and once with black eyes. The document indicates the state of Kansas was told at least twice that Lucas was being abused and details the boy’s dysfunctional and violent family life.

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