An autopsy released on Wednesday found 5-year-old Lucas Hernandez’s cause of death to be undetermined
The autopsy report stated Hernandez’s body was in a state of advanced decomposition
Hernandez was reported to have phenethylamine in his system
An autopsy for Emily Glass ruled her death to be a suicide
On Wednesday, autopsy reports were released for both 5-year-old Lucas Hernandez and his father’s girlfriend 27-year-old Emily Glass. Many questions remain unanswered as Hernandez’s death was found to be undetermined.
The decedent was a 5 year old male with a history of cleft palate, micrognathia, and persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn. He was discovered obviously deceased in a state of advanced decomposition under a pile of debris in a culvert on 5/24/2018.
The autopsy was performed at the Sedgwick County Regional Forensic Science Center on May 25, 2018. District Coroner-Chief Medical Examiner Timothy Gorrill, M.D., Ph.D. signed the autopsy on Wednesday.
An X-ray of the remains revealed no obvious skeletal trauma. The body was said to be in a “state of advanced decomposition with incomplete skeletonization,” and noted, “extensive maggot activity is present.”
Hernandez’s neck and torso were said to be “predominately skeletonized,” but his lower extremities were “relatively well preserved.”
With the body badly decomposed, the autopsy did not determine a cause of death.
The autopsy, including review of circumstances of death, medical history, toxicological studies and forensic anthropology examination did not reveal a definitive cause of death Although no trauma was identified, examination for soft tissue was obviously limited due to postmortem changes. The cause of death is therefore undetermined.
The manner of death is undetermined.
The autopsy showed that Lucas tested positive for phenethylamine, an organic compound humans are able to naturally produce. Phenethylamines are also defined as “stimulant, entactogenic, and hallucinogenic substances that share similar chemical structures with amphetamine, catecholamines, synthetic cathinones, and other substances.” There is no reason to believe Hernandez’s phenethylamine was above a normal range.
The results of the autopsy mean two things. If Glass were still alive it is doubtful she would have spent any significant time in prison due to the prosecution lacking a cause of death. The autopsy report plays a crucial role when prosecuting a murder. It is not impossible without the cause of death, but it is not a simple task either.
The results of the toxicology gives the Kansas Department for Children and Families the ability to not reveal any information regarding their contact with the family over abuse reports before the boy’s death.
A new law aimed at bringing transparency to DCF states upon request the agency must provide all previous contact with a child that dies because of abuse or neglect. Since the results of the autopsy are undetermined, DCF can use that as a shield to block the public from ever knowing if the agency knowingly left Hernandez in a situation where they knew he was at risk.
Also on Wednesday, it was reported that Glass’ death is ruled a suicide. The body of Glass was found on June 8. Glass was said to have an AR-15 at her feet and a gunshot wound on the midline of her forehead. The path of the bullet was from front to back.
It was reported there were multiple suicide notes found around the residence where Hernandez was reported missing from on February 17 the night of the shooting. A toxicology report showed Glass had marijuana in her system, but tested negative for all other substances.