One man has been arrested and an arrest warrant has been issued for another in connection with the death of kindergarten teacher Luz Hernandez. Hernandez, 33, was the mother of three.

Cesar J. Santana
Cesar J. Santana

On Tuesday afternoon, Hernandez’s body was found in a shallow grave in the area of Central Avenue and Third Street in Kearny.

According to the Hudson County Prosecutor, Cesar Santana, 36, and Leiner Miranda Lopez, 26, both of Jersey City, are each charged with one count of Desecrating/Concealing Human Remains.

Santana was arrested this morning, shortly after midnight, at a motel on Biscayne Boulevard in Miami, Florida, by members of the United States Marshals Service Southern District of Florida. He is being detained at the Miami-Dade Turner Guilford Night Detention Center as a Fugitive from Justice pending extradition to New Jersey. 

Miranda Lopez remains at large.

Details surrounding the police investigation were released this morning.

According the HCPO, Santana and Lopez were stopped by the Kearny Police Department on Sunday on Central Avenue in Kearny. The vehicle was unregistered and thus impounded.

Hernandez was reported missing on Monday. On Tuesday, police conducted a “welfare check” at her Van Horne Street home. 

Leiner Miranda Lopez

Also on Tuesday, the HCPO learned of the traffic stop and impounded automobile in Kearny. A court authorized search warrant was executed on the vehicle. Hernandez’s body was discovered later that afternoon.

An autopsy performed on yesterday determined that Hernandez died of blunt force trauma to the head and compressions to the neck.

Brett Schundler, founder of BelovED Community Charter School where Hernandez taught, told the Jersey Journal “People loved her. She was a wonderful co-worker…she was a beloved member of the BelovED family. People are feeling devastated by this.”

Hernandez was the second Jersey City teacher killed this year. On January 24, Temara King was gunned down by her former partner. King was a teacher at PS-5.

The Hudson County Prosecutor is asking anyone with information regarding Lopez’s whereabouts to contact the office at 201-915-1345.