Suspect arrested in death of kindergarten teacher found in shallow grave


(JERSEY CITY, N.J.) — A suspect has been arrested over the death of a beloved kindergarten teacher whose body was found in a shallow grave earlier this week.

Luz Hernandez, a 33-year-old kindergarten teacher from Jersey City, New Jersey, was first reported missing on Monday which led to the Jersey City Police Department to conduct a welfare check the following day in regards to the missing person’s report, according to Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez.

Her body was discovered in a shallow grave on Tuesday afternoon in Kearny, New Jersey — just a few miles from where she lived and worked.

Autopsy results revealed on Thursday indicate that she died of blunt force trauma to the head and compressions to the neck, according to ABC News’ New York City station WABC.

Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez announced that a suspect has been arrested but did not provide any further information on who the suspect is or what possible connection they could have had to Hernandez.

“An arrest has been made in connection with the death investigation of Luz Hernandez. More to follow,” Saurez tweeted early Friday morning.

Hernandez worked as a kindergarten teacher at BelovED Charter School in Jersey City and her death has led to an outpouring of grief within the community after the mother of three didn’t show up for work on Monday.

A makeshift memorial has appeared outside her home where people have been leaving flowers and condolence messages.

“[She was] the best sister in the world … it’s unbelievable,” Hernandez’s sister told WABC.

Hernandez is separated from her husband, Junior Santana, who was reportedly in church with their children on Sunday. The family said his whereabouts is currently unknown.

“[She was a] very pleasant woman, beautiful children. It is sad that she passed away. I feel terrible,” a neighbor identified as Monique told WABC in an interview. “She always seemed so pleasant so I really didn’t think something so severe [could happen].”

Anyone with information pertaining to this case is asked to contact the Office of the Hudson County Prosecutor at 201-915-1345 or to leave an anonymous tip. All information will be kept confidential.

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