A slain New Jersey kindergarten teacher’s estranged husband was extradited and charged with murder on Wednesday in Luz Hernandez’s death, as the second suspect remains on the run.
Cesar Santana, 36, was apprehended on February 10 at a Miami hotel, three days after Hernandez’s body was discovered in a shallow grave in Kearny, New Jersey.
Prosecutors increased Santana’s charges to first-degree murder, hindering, tampering with physical evidence, and failing to dispose of human remains following the law.
Meanwhile, Santana’s alleged accomplice, Leiner Miranda Lopez, 26, remains significant.
Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to call the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office at 201-915-1345.
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The community mourned the New Jersey kindergarten teacher’s death as law enforcement and prosecutors dealt with Santana and hunted down Lopez.
The mother of three worked as a teacher at BelovED Charter School in Jersey City, which held a candlelight vigil on February 10 to mourn the loss of their colleague and teacher.
Hernandez died of blunt force trauma to the head and compressions to the neck. The reason for her death is still unknown.
Last week, she was laid to rest in Bayview Cemetery.
Following a series of events that began with a traffic stop in Kearny, New Jersey, on February 5, before the New Jersey kindergarten teacher went missing, law enforcement identified Santana and Lopez as suspects.
They were allegedly driving an unregistered vehicle, which Kearny police impounded.
“With knowledge of the traffic stop, the Kearny Police Department led the Homicide Unit to the area of Central Avenue and Third Street in Kearny, where investigators eventually discovered what appeared to be a shallow grave,” prosecutors said.
“A short time later, the body of a female, later identified as Luz Hernandez, 33, of Jersey City, was recovered, and she was pronounced dead at the scene at 4:53 p.m.”
The police also discovered “blood splatters” on her apartment door.
Santana is being held at the Hudson County Correctional Facility.
Lopez was charged with desecrating and concealing human remains subject to enhancement.
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