Arrest made in death of NJ teacher Luz Hernandez found in shallow grave

Authorities have made an arrest in the death of a Jersey City kindergarten teacher who was found dead in a shallow grave after she was beaten and strangled.

The Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office did not identify the suspect or mention charges in its announcement early Friday, saying only that there would be “more to follow” in “the death investigation of Luz Hernandez.”

Hernandez, 33, a mother of three, died of blunt force trauma to the head and compressions to the neck, according to autopsy results released earlier by the prosecutor’s office.

The teacher’s employer, BelovED Charter School, reported her missing Monday after she failed to show up for work that day.  

Jersey City police conducted a welfare check at her Van Horne Street home on Tuesday, apparently found evidence of a crime and contacted the prosecutor’s office for assistance.

Luz Hernandez
Luz Hernandez’s body was found in a shallow grave near Central Avenue and Third Street in Kearny.
Facebook/ Luz Hernandez

They discovered Hernandez’s body about 4:50 p.m., lying in “what appeared to be a shallow grave” near Central Avenue and Third Street in Kearny, Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez said in a statement.

Hernandez was last seen on Saturday, when she went to visit a relative with her children, who spent the following day with their dad, WNBC reported.

Hernandez was separated from Junior Santana, ABC 7 reported.

Police did a welfare check at Hernandez’s residence after she did not show up for work on Monday.
Facebook/ Luz Hernandez

“We can’t live without her, I’ll never fill this void,” her sister, Jenny Taveras, told WNBC in Spanish.   

Hernandez’s cousin Yajaira Germosen said: “She was a really good mother. She was kind, oh my God. She was a beautiful person. We are going to miss her so much. I cannot speak, it’s unbelievable.”

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