Murder charges have been lodged against a second man, who remains at large, in the death of a kindergarten teacher at BelovED Community Charter School.
The 33-year-old teacher and mother of three, Luz Hernandez, was found in a shallow grave in Kearny on February 7 after she was reported missing.
Previously, Hernandez’s estranged spouse, Cesar Santana, was charged with Murder, Hindering, Failing to Dispose of Human Remains in a Manner Prescribed by Law, and Tampering with Physical Evidence.
Now, according to Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez, Leiner Miranda Lopez, of Jersey City, has been charged as well. The charges include Murder; Hindering; Failing to Dispose of Human Remains in a Manner Prescribed by Law; and Tampering with Physical Evidence. He had previously been charged with Desecrating/Concealing Human Remains.
Authorities were led to the area of Central Avenue and Third Street in Kearny where Hernandez’s body was discovered after learning that Santana and Lopez had been pulled over by police earlier that day. The two men were, apparently, released but the unregistered vehicle was impounded. Later, a court authorized search of the vehicle was executed and additional evidence was recovered.
While Santana was arrested on February 10 at a motel in Miami, Florida, Lopez remains a fugitive.
An autopsy determined that Hernandez died of blunt force trauma to the head and compressions to the neck.
Authorities are asking anyone with information regarding Leiner Miranda Lopez’s whereabouts to contact the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office at 201-915-1345 or to leave an anonymous tip.