JERSEY CITY, N.J. (WPIX) — A beloved Jersey City teacher whose body was found in a shallow grave died of blunt force trauma to the head and compressions to the neck, officials said Thursday.
Luz Hernandez, a 33-year-old mother of three, was found buried in an industrial section of Kearny, New Jersey on Tuesday, officials said. That same day, police in Jersey City conducted a welfare check at her home after Hernandez failed to show up for work at BelovED Community Charter School.
No arrests have been made in a case that investigators have deemed a homicide. Hernandez’ tight-knit family is calling for her ex to answer questions. They said he was one of the last people to see her on Saturday morning while visiting their children, ages 3, 9 and 12.
“He took the kids to the church like nothing happened. He says that she went out, that he didn’t see her in the morning — Sunday in the morning — and didn’t nobody see her no more,” one of Hernandez’ cousins said.
Community members were left shaken by Hernandez’ death. Family members said she was their light; everyone gravitated toward her.
“She was a beautiful person and I’m going to miss her so much,” the cousin said. “I cannot speak because this is unbelievable.”
Hernandez taught kindergarten at BelovED Community Charter School. The school closed on Wednesday. Grief counselors were on hand on Tuesday when the school reopened.
The school community was Hernandez’ family. Two of her children attend the school.
“She was a really good teacher,” the cousin said. “She was a really good mother. She was kind.”
Hernandez started at the school in 2017 as a teacher’s assistant, BelovED Community Charter School founder Bret Schundler said. She then got certified as a lead kindergarten teacher.
Neighbor Jose Vargas, who has a daughter who was in Hernandez’ class, said the woman loved each of her students.
“It’s hard to process all this, it’s hard,” Vargas said. “So close to home, too.”