The case of a 33-year-old New Jersey kindergarten teacher who was found dead in a shallow grave after reportedly having been battered and strangled to death has resulted in an arrest, according to the announcement made by law authorities. Her body was located in the grave.
In a tweet sent out very early on Friday morning, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office announced that the arrest had been made “in connection with the death investigation of Luz Hernandez.” While no charges, identities or any further information was given, the prosecutor’s office said there would be “more to follow.”
The results of the autopsy on Hernandez, who had been reported missing earlier in the week, were shared by the prosecutor’s office just hours before the announcement. Prosecutors said Thursday that the beloved teacher died from blunt force trauma and compression to the neck. This confirmed that the case had changed from a search for a missing person to a search for a murderer.
The identification of Hernandez, which had been suspected but had to be validated by the coroner, was established by the autopsy as well. The investigation was kicked off on Monday after a complaint of a missing individual was submitted.
Because Hernandez failed to show up for work on that particular day, her family, who had been growing increasingly concerned because they hadn’t heard from her over the weekend, contacted the authorities.
Tuesday, members of the Jersey City Police Department made a welfare check at the residence of Hernandez located on Van Horne Street. It is unclear what they discovered; nevertheless, prosecutors have stated that it was sufficient to prompt law enforcement to seek assistance from their agency.
During the course of the inquiry, murder detectives came across what seemed to be a shallow burial in a secluded part of Kearny close by, which was located near the intersection of Central Avenue and Third Street. A short time later, Hernandez’s body was located and recovered.
At the scene, it was determined that the mother of three had passed away. The news left Hernandez’s family “heartbroken,” as the expression goes.
“We can’t live without her, I’ll never fill this void,” her sister, Jenny Taveras, said in Spanish. She also said she wants justice for her sister. “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 can not speak, it’s unbelievable,” said cousin Yajaira Germosen.
On Saturday, Hernandez was last seen taking her children to see a relative. Since then, Hernandez has not been seen. Because they spent Sunday with their father, that was the last time her children saw her alive. She passed away the following day.
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“He went to the church with kids, like nothing happened,” Germosen said.
On Wednesday, the school where she taught was closed all day so that people who knew her could grieve. Candles, balloons, and posters were being added to the memorial on the steps of the popular teacher’s house. Hernandez’s 6-year-old student cried as she left a card that said “I love you.”
Authorities are asking anyone who knows anything to call the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office at 201-915-1345 or send a tip online here.
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