Shovel, Bloody Rope Found in Car That Belonged to Ex of Teacher Found Slain in Shallow Grave: Prosecutor


The victim, Luz Hernandez, leaves behind three children. Cesar Santana, her ex, is their father and is currently in custody.

A shovel, bloody rope, clear plastic sheeting, a bin with wheels, and a pickax have been found in an impounded car that belonged to the ex-husband of a New Jersey school teacher whose body was found in a shallow grave earlier this month, according to court documents, NBC News reported.

Some of the items were bloody, there were black hairs on others, and there was soil on the sheeting, according to MSN.

The details were in an affidavit filed by authorities in court last week as Cesar Santana, 36, is charged with murder in the death of Luz Hernandez, 33, a kindergarten teacher at a Jersey City charter school, NBC News reported.

Santana, who was arrested in Miami on Feb. 10 and was extradited to New Jersey last Tuesday, was also charged with hindering, tampering with physical evidence and failing to dispose of human remains in a manner prescribed by law, prosecutors said.

Inside Edition Digital has reached out to the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, who said that a judge of the Superior Court granted the State’s motion for detention Monday morning and the matter is being referred to the Grand Jury.

Santana has plead not guilty to his charges.

Inside Edition Digital has reached out to Edward J. Bilinkas, an attorney representing Santana, who said "my client is not guilty and I will vigorously defend him."

A second suspect, Lenier Miranda Lopez, 26, has been charged with desecrating/concealing human remains and is still being sought by police.

Hernandez, a mother of three, was reported missing by Santana and family members on February 6 when she did not show up to work, according to MSN.

Santana is the father of their three children.

The children are currently in the care of Hernandez’s mother, according to CBS News.

Hernandez's body was found in a shallow grave hours later in Kearney, New Jersey, just over three miles from her home, according to CBS News.

Her death was caused by blunt force trauma of the head and compressions to the neck, according to the affidavit obtained by NBC News.

Hernandez’s brother, Christino, spoke to CBS News and said, “She was always happy. She loved kids. She became a teacher because she loved being around kids.”

Her sister, Jenny Taveras, has launched a GoFundMe to help pay for the education expenses of the children Hernandez left behind.  

“Luz was a victim of domestic violence who was murdered and found dead by the Jersey City Police Authority. This fund will contribute to a scholarship fund for her 3 children, who are my nephews and niece,” the GoFundMe page said.

Inside Edition Digital has reached out to Jenny Taveras for comment and has not heard back.

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