A second man has been charged for the murder of a 33-year-old kindergarten teacher at the BelovED Community Charter School who was found in a shallow grave in Kearny last month, authorities said.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Leiner Miranda Lopez, 26, of Jersey City, is charged with murder, hindering, failing to dispose of human remains in a manner prescribed by law, and tampering with physical evidence, Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez said in a statement.
He was previously charged with desecrating/concealing human remains, a second-degree crime, and has not yet been apprehended.
Anyone with any information regarding his whereabouts is asked to contact the HCPO at 201-915- 1345.
Cesar Santana, 36, of Jersey City, Luz Hernandez’s ex-husband, is facing the same charges and he was arrested in Florida by U.S. Marshal’s last month.
He is currently in custody at the Hudson County Correctional Facility and his matter has been referred to the grand jury and is being investigated as an act of domestic violence.
On Monday, February 6th, Luz Hernandez was reported missing to the Jersey City Police Department. On Tuesday, February 7th, a welfare check was conducted on Van Horne Street regarding the missing person’s report.
The findings resulted in the Jersey City Police Department contacting the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office for assistance and Santana was identified as a person of interest in the matter.
During the course of the investigation, it was determined Santana and Miranda Lopez were involved in a motor vehicle stop on Sunday, February 5h on Central Avenue in Kearny, prior to Hernandez being reported missing.
The vehicle was unregistered and impounded by the Kearny Police Department. From there, a court authorized search of the vehicle was executed on Tuesday, February 7th and additional evidence was recovered.
The Kearny Police Department, knowing details of the traffic stop, led the homicide unit to the area of Central Avenue and Third Street in Kearny, where investigators ultimately located what appeared to be a shallow grave.
The body of a woman, later identified as Hernandez, was recovered a short time later and she was pronounced dead at the scene at 4:53 p.m.
The Regional Medical Examiner’s Office determined the cause of death to be blunt force trauma to the head and compressions to the neck and the manner of death to be homicide.
This investigation is active and ongoing.
Hernandez was the second Jersey City teacher to be killed in a two-week time frame, with Temara King, 35, gunned down by her husband on January 24th.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the HCPO at 201-915-1345 or to leave an anonymous tip at: https://www.hudsoncountyprosecutorsofficenj.org/homicide-tip/.
All information will be kept confidential.