Police are searching for Leiner Miranda Lopez who is wanted in relation to the murder of murdered teacher Luz Hernandez in New Jersey. Earlier today police announced that Luz Hernandez ex husband Cesar Santana was arrested in Florida and held on a charge of concealing human remains. Now police have released that Cesar Santana and Leiner Miranda Lopez were pulled over following a traffic stop. The vehicle was unregistered and impounded and following a search of the vehicle officers filed charges against Leiner Miranda Lopez and Cesar Santana. Luz Hernandez was found in a shallow grave in New Jersey a day after being reported missing.
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A New Jersey prosecutor announced Friday that an arrest has been made and another suspect is being sought after a missing kindergarten teacher’s body was found this week in what “appeared to be a shallow grave.”
Cesar Santana, 36, was taken into custody at a motel in Miami this morning with the help of the U.S. Marshals Service following the discovery of the remains of 33-year-old Luz Hernandez in Kearny on Tuesday, according to the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office.
Leiner Miranda Lopez, a 26-year-old who like Santana is from Jersey City, remains on the run. Both men have so far been charged with one count of desecrating/concealing human remains.
Hernandez, a mother of three and a teacher at BelovED Charter School in Jersey City, died of blunt force trauma to the head and compressions to the neck, prosecutors say, citing preliminary autopsy findings. The motive for her death remains unknown.
Officials found the body of Hernandez in what “appeared to be a shallow grave” after she was reported missing Monday and a welfare check was conducted at her home.
“During the course of the investigation, it was determined Cesar Santana and Leiner Miranda Lopez were involved in a motor vehicle stop on Sunday, February 5, 2023 on Central Avenue in Kearny, prior to Luz Hernandez being reported missing,” the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office said Friday. “The vehicle was unregistered and impounded by the Kearny Police Department. A court authorized search of the vehicle was executed on Tuesday, February 7, 2023, and additional evidence was recovered.”
On Tuesday, “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,” prosecutors also said. “The body of a female — later identified as Luz Hernandez, 33, of Jersey City — was recovered a short time later and she was pronounced dead at the scene at 4:53 p.m.”
Police also found “blood splatters” on the door of her apartment, according to NJ.com
Hernandez did not show up to work on Monday, prompting her employer to contact the police, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office said.
Hernandez started at the BelovED Charter School after graduating from Saint Peter’s University in 2017, NJ.com reports. She initially worked as a teacher’s assistant.
“People loved her. She was a wonderful co-worker,” BelovED founder Bret Schunder said of Hernandez, according to the report. “She was a beloved member of the BelovED family. People are feeling devastated by this.”