UPDATE: Luz Hernandez died of blunt force trauma to the head and compressions to the neck, according to the medical examiner. Read more.
JERSEY CITY, N.J. – The body of a missing Jersey City kindergarten teacher was found in “what appeared to be a shallow grave,” authorities said Wednesday.
Luz Hernandez, 33, was reported missing by her employer, BelovED Charter School, when she failed to report to work on Monday, although it is believed that she actually disappeared Saturday, NJ.com reported.
Law enforcement officers found Hernandez’s body about 4:53 p.m. on Tuesday while trying to locate the mother of three. She was discovered in “what appeared to be a shallow grave” dug near Central Avenue and Third Street in Kearny. She was pronounced dead at the scene, Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez said in a statement.
Jersey City police initially discovered “blood splatters” on the door of an apartment on Van Horne Street Tuesday just before 1 p.m. They did not locate the missing woman at the residence, but obtained a search warrant which subsequently led them to a location in Kearny where they discovered the woman’s body, the prosecutor said.
The Homicide Unit of the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office is leading the investigation along with the assistance of the Jersey City and Kearny police departments. The cause of death is pending the outcome of an autopsy by the Regional Medical Examiner’s Office.
Further details were not immediately available as investigators seek clues in the case.
PRESS RELEASE: Homicide Unit Investigating Death of Woman Found in Kearny pic.twitter.com/hRCB4k07hf
— ProsecutorSuarezHCPO (@HCPOProsecutor) February 8, 2023
Hernandez began working at BelovED as a teacher’s assistant in 2017. The school was closed Wednesday as friends and colleagues mourned her loss, the New York Post reported.
The body of Luz Hernandez’s was discovered in “what appeared to be a shallow grave” dug near Central Avenue and Third Street in Kearny. (Facebook/ Luz Hernandez)
BelovED founder Bret Schundler said counselors are available for both teachers and students.
“People loved her. She was a wonderful co-worker,” Schundler told NJ.com. “She was a beloved member of the BelovED family. People are feeling devastated by this.”