Manhunt Underway for Second Suspect as Police Arrest One in Connection to Murdered Teacher Case

Cesar Santana (Left) and Leiner Miranda Lopez (Right)
Cesar Santana (Left) and Leiner Miranda Lopez (Right)

Jersey City, NJ – In a tragic turn of events, a 33-year-old woman has been found dead, and two men have been charged in connection with her death. Luz Hernandez, a kindergarten teacher from Jersey City, was reported missing on Monday, February 6, 2023, and was found deceased in Kearny on Tuesday, February 7, 2023. The Regional Medical Examiner’s Office has determined the cause of death to be Blunt Force Trauma to the Head and Compressions to the Neck and the Manner of Death to be Homicide.

Cesar Santana, 36, and Leiner Miranda Lopez, 26, both of Jersey City, have been charged with one count of Desecrating/Concealing Human Remains. Santana was arrested in Miami, Florida, early on Friday, February 10, 2023, and is being detained pending extradition to New Jersey. Miranda Lopez remains at large, and authorities are asking for the public’s help in locating him.

The investigation started after a welfare check was conducted on Van Horne Street regarding Hernandez’s missing person’s report. Cesar Santana was identified as a person of interest, and during the course of the investigation, it was determined that he and Miranda Lopez were involved in a traffic stop on Sunday, February 5, 2023, in Kearny. The vehicle they were in was unregistered and impounded by the Kearny Police Department. After a court-authorized search of the vehicle, investigators led by the Kearny Police Department found what appeared to be a shallow grave near Central Avenue and Third Street in Kearny. The body of Luz Hernandez was recovered, and she was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, the Jersey City Police Department, the Kearny Police Department, the United States Marshals Service New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force, the United States Marshals Service Southern District of Florida, the New Jersey State Police, and the Pennsylvania State Police have all been involved in the investigation and arrest.

Anyone with information regarding Leiner Miranda Lopez’s whereabouts is urged to contact the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office at 201-915-1345. All information will be kept confidential. The charges against the defendants are mere accusations, and they are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The death of Luz Hernandez has sent shockwaves through the Jersey City community, and many are mourning the loss of a beloved teacher. The investigation is active and ongoing, and authorities are asking for anyone with information to come forward. The death of Luz Hernandez serves as a sobering reminder of the importance of being vigilant and reporting any suspicious activity.