More than four months after 5-year-old Lucas Hernandez disappeared from his Wichita home, community members get the chance to lay him to rest.
It was a day the community waited for and needed. On Saturday, family and friends gathered to honor a little boy found dead in southern Harvey County.
"The tragedy of his death will be dealt with later, at another time. But today we celebrate Lucas Allen Hernandez and the treasure that he has left in each of our lives," says Father Terry Hedrick.
After months of searching and sharing his name, community members who thought of Lucas as family had a chance to say goodbye.
"He was a pro on his scooter and really liked making crafts. He was very proud of his freckles and when somebody would ask him about those freckles, he would say I got them from my momma," says Pastor Jeff Gannon.
Some spoke about Lucas and his short time on the earth. Others talked about something he says we have to face, Lucas is not alone.
"What can we learn from this? Where's the next Lucas? There's another one out there today, somewhere. There's another one today," says Tim Miller,EquuSearch.
Miller said today may bring comfort, tomorrow may not. Now that all searchers and services are done, it'll be hard to finally say goodbye.
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
A celebration of life will be held for Lucas Hernandez on Saturday, June 30 at 1 p.m. at the WSU Eugene M. Hughes Metropolitan Complex.
The service will be open to the public, community leaders, law enforcement, friends, family and the media.
"We want to offer all those who have come to love our child the opportunity to grieve and say goodbye," reads the funeral announcement.
Flowers can be delivered to the Metroplex Friday (June 29) and Saturday (June 30).
Charitable donations can be made in Lucas' name to the Ronald McDonald House Global Charities or Beech Elementary Library, 1830 S. Cypress St., Wichita, KS 67207.
Sunday, June 10, 2018
The parents of Lucas Hernandez say a memorial for thier son is still in the works, but will be open to the public.
Jonathan Hernandez and Jamie Taylor-Orr released a statement through a representative overnight.
They say they've collected many of the items that were left at the bridge where his body was found last month, and plan to display those mementos as part of his memorial service.
They asked the public to put fundraising efforts on hold as they plan his memorial.
In the statement, Lucas' parents said they want to "focus on laying him to rest in a manner that celebrates his short time on this earth," then work with the community to memorialize their beautiful child.
They say they will make an announcement about services once they finalize a few more details.
Read the entire statement below.
Many people in the community are reaching out to us, looking for a way to honor our beloved son. We are deeply touched by all those who are mourning and looking for a way to show how much Lucas has come to mean to them, but at this time we are asking for the public to put fundraising efforts on hold. We NEED this time to plan our child’s goodbye. We want to focus on laying him to rest in a manner that celebrates his short time on this earth. Afterwards, there will be plenty of time to work with the community and memorialize our beautiful child.
Shortly after Lucas was found, our family asked a friend to be our spokesperson and representative to the press and public. We were in a deep state of shock, and honestly did not know how to interact with anyone. While our world will never, ever be the same, we have come to realize that being a voice for our child is part of the healing process. We truly appreciate all the efforts that have been made to shield us in our grief. It gave us a few precious days to come to terms with the enormity of our loss. Jonathan and I are still reeling and learning how to live this new life without Lucas. We were never prepared to face this loss and we will probably make many mistakes as we go down what is sure to be a long, dark road. We just ask that you all be patient with us, give us time to grieve and help us ensure Lucas’ legacy is one filled with hope and kindness, not darkness and evil.
We have been out to Lucas’ site and removed some of the items. These include deflated balloons and most of the stuffed animals that were placed out near the bridge by the public. We would like everyone to know that we plan on leaving the rest of the items out at the site until June 24. On that day, we will collect nearly everything in order to display it at Lucas’ Memorial Service, which will be open to the public. We want to preserve and protect all the beautiful things so many left to honor our child. We will be making an announcement regarding Lucas’ services as soon as we finalize a few more details.
Thank you for your support,
Jamie Taylor-Orr and Jonathan Hernandez