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Second New Jersey man charged with murder in kindergarten teacher’s slaying

Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez announced Friday that a second suspect has been charged with murder in the slaying of 33-year-old Luz Hernandez.

A second suspect was charged with murder this week in the slaying of Luz Hernandez, a New Jersey kindergarten teacher who was found strangled to death in a shallow grave last month. 

Leiner Miranda Lopez, 26, is now facing charges of first-degree murder, hindering, failing to dispose of human remains, and tampering with physical evidence, Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez announced Friday. He was previously charged with desecrating human remains. 

Lopez is still on the run after authorities identified him as a suspect last month. 


Hernandez, a mother of three and a teacher at BelovED Charter School in Jersey City, was reported missing on Feb. 6 and found dead the next day. An autopsy determined that she died from blunt-force trauma and compressions to the neck. 

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Hernandez’s estranged husband, 36-year-old Cesar Santana, was arrested on Feb. 10 at a motel in Miami. He is facing counts of first-degree murder and other charges. 

Lopez and Santana were involved in a traffic stop on Feb. 5 on Central Avenue in Kearny, New Jersey, the day before Hernandez went missing. Homicide detectives found Hernandez’s remains near the location of that traffic stop two days later. 

Police are still searching for Lopez. Anyone with information about his whereabouts can contact the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office at 201-915-1345.

Fox News Digital’s Chris Eberhart contributed to this report. 

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