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Where is DJ Hernandez, Aaron Hernandez’s Brother, Now?
DJ, who is also known by the name Jonathan Hernandez, wrote a book about his brother in 2018.
Netflix's "Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez" dives deep into the past of the former NFL star turned convicted murderer and what led to his fall from grace. But equally interesting are the people who surrounded Hernandez growing up, like his brother D.J. Hernandez.
D.J., who now goes by the first name Jonathan, has previously spoken at length about his relationship with his younger brother, who died by suicide in prison following his conviction for the 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd.
“I loved him. I love him… the whole thing is just so tragic,” he told CBS in late 2018 amid a publicity tour for his book, "The Truth About Aaron: My Journey to Understand My Brother."
Jonathan acknowledged in multiple interviews that he and Aaron suffered a difficult and often abusive childhood while growing up.
“He had a lot of things happen, both good and bad,” Jonathan told PEOPLE. “People think they know about my brother, but they really don’t. They know what they saw in the news, but they don’t know all the struggles he faced.”
Jonathan alleged that the brothers' father, who died in 2006, was physically abusive. “Our father would hit us for anything from a bad grade to disrespectful behavior to sheer clumsiness,” Jonathan told PEOPLE.
Jonathan also wrote in his book about numerous tense conflicts with Aaron, recounting a story where he flat-out asked his brother if he was gay, according to CNN.
"'If you are, I don't care,' I said. 'I love you. You are my brother.' 'Don't you ever ask me that again,' Aaron said. 'If you say that again, I'll f---ing kill you,'" he wrote.
Despite their paths in life tragically diverging, the two brothers had much in common. Like his brother Aaron, Jonathan grew up to become a talented football player — serving as a team captain during his time at the University of Connecticut. He later moved into coaching college football, working at various colleges like the University of Iowa, where he is still listed on the Hawkeyes' website.
Following Aaron's murder conviction, Jonathan apparently gave up on working in college football. He soon moved into working as a roofer in Texas, a career change which is documented in a long-form interview with Sports Illustrated published in 2016.
But Jonathan would soon return to the world of football, taking a coaching job at Connecticut's Ledyard High School in 2017, according to the Norwich Bulletin. Local television station WTNH-TV even published a piece on him following his hiring.
A January 2017 piece from The New York Post said Jonathan would visit his brother in jail from time to time — but never asked him about what happened the night of Lloyd's death in 2013.
“Whether Aaron did or did not do it, I don’t know,” Jonathan told Sports Illustrated. “And honestly, it’s irrelevant. It really is. He’s in a situation because he decided to be in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people.”
Aaron died by suicide in prison in April 2017, less than a week after his acquittal for a double homicide.
"My younger brother Aaron was far from perfect, but I will always love him," Jonathan said in a statement around that time.
Jonathan resigned from Ledyard in 2018 after only one season of coaching, according to The Day in New London, and soon embarked on a book tour.
Following the release of his book, Jonathan appears to have withdrawn from the spotlight. He had a baby in mid-2019, according to Radar Online. However, he has since appeared to have deleted his social media presence.
Jonathan did not immediately respond to a request for comment by Oxygen.com.
Netflix's three-part documentary on Aaron Hernandez begins streaming on January 15.
To learn more about Aaron Hernandez’s case, stream “Aaron Hernandez Uncovered" now on Oxygen.