Kansas mom starts civilian search for missing Wichita boy

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Sheila Medlam’s heart sank when she heard the news of a missing Wichita boy.

The story of Lucas Hernandez, missing since February 17, is a familiar one. Medlam’s son, Mason, wandered from their Colwich home in July 2010. Mason, 5, drowned in a nearby pond and died days later.

“It was really devastating for me. Lucas reminds me a lot of Mason. They’re the same age, the same beautiful smile,” she said. “For me, it brought a lot of memories back. But just the thought of any little boy or girl out in the cold, without a coat or shoes, is just a devastating thought for all of us, I think.”


Now, Medlam, along with dozens of others in the community, are planning to search for Lucas. Starting at 9 a.m. Monday, the group is surveying Chisholm Creek Park, which is located at 3228 N. Oliver – that’s near K-96 and Oliver in northeast Wichita. The park, which spans 216.7 acres, has been a place of interest in the investigation.

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“I can’t imagine what it’d be like to not know where he was for a day, two days, a week or a month,” Medlam said. “So, I think we’re down here because the whole City of Wichita just can’t stand not knowing where Lucas is. We all want to know where he’s at.”

Medlam said her search group has been in contact with Wichita Police. They wanted to assist with the search sooner, but they did not want to interfere with the investigation. She believes a second set of eyes can only help things out.

The community response to find Lucas has been overwhelming, Medlam said. Businesses have donated items to help with the search. Others have donated food to help people stay energized throughout the day.

“Never been out here. It’s pretty spooky, especially in the dark,” she said. “You have to give a lot of credit to WPD, that’s already been out here searching twice. We’re not expecting to find anything that they didn’t find, but it’s such a large area that there’s always the possibility that we might. So that’s why I think we’re out there: to make sure there’s nothing here.”  

If the group does find anything, Medlam said they will not touch any item. Instead, they’ll flag the items with evidence markers and contact investigators about what they’ve found.

Medlam said Lucas has become a son to Wichita. She wants the boy’s family to know to never give up hope.


Another civilian search for Lucas is taking place Monday. A group is planning to meet at 9:30 a.m. Monday at Cessna West Park. The park is located at 5701 E. Kincaid – near Woodlawn and Mt. Vernon Street in southeast Wichita. Organizers tell KAKE News that they’re going to search around the park and Gypsum Creek.

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