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Crime News Murders

Police Investigate After Body Of Missing New Jersey Teacher Is Found In Shallow Grave

Luz Hernandez, 33, was first reported missing on Monday. Her body was found after Jersey City officers conducted a welfare check, according to the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office.

By Caitlin Schunn

The body of a New Jersey woman missing since Monday was found in a shallow grave, according to the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office.

Luz Hernandez, 33, from Jersey City, was found dead in Kearny — about 15 minutes northeast of Newark — just before 5 p.m. on Tuesday by Jersey City police officers, the prosecutor’s office said.

After a missing person's report was filed, officers conducted a welfare check at her apartment on Van Horne Street, where they found “blood splatters” on the door of the apartment, police said in radio transmissions, the Jersey Journal reported.

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In the course of the investigation, the homicide unit found a shallow grave in the area of Central Avenue and Third Street — a deserted, industrial area 3.5 miles away from her home — according to CBS New York. The prosecutor’s office has not described what evidence led them to her grave.

Hernandez was reported missing by school officials Monday, when she didn’t show up for work as a kindergarten teacher at the BelovED Charter School, according to the Jersey Journal. She may have been missing as far back as Saturday.

She started working at the school as a teacher’s assistant in 2017 after graduating from Saint Peter’s University, the Jersey Journal reported.

A police handout of Luz Hernandez

“People loved her. She was a wonderful co-worker,” Bret Schundler, co-founder of BelovED, told the Jersey Journal. “She was a beloved member of the BelovED family. People are feeling devastated by this.”

The school was closed Wednesday, and counselors are available for staff and students. Schundler expects tributes from the school for Hernandez. There’s a growing memorial at the school, where a 6-year-old student of Hernandez’ left a card that said, “I love you,” according to NBC New York.

“There is going to be a desire to commemorate her and there’s going to be a desire to support her family,” Schundler said to the Jersey Journal. “Her whole family was involved, was part of the BelovED community.”

Hernandez was a mother of three — her youngest only two years old. The children are now living with Hernandez’s mother, according to CBS New York.

"She was always happy. She loved kids. She became a teacher because she loved being around kids," said Christino Hernandez, the victim's brother, to CBS New York.

Hernandez’s death is considered suspicious, and the cause of death is under investigation by the Regional Medical Examiner’s Office.

No arrests have been made. If you have any information, contact the Office of the Hudson County prosecutor at 201-915-1345 or leave an anonymous tip here.

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