Who Was Luz Hernandez? Body of Kindergarten Teacher Found in Shallow Grave

The body of a missing kindergarten teacher was found in a shallow grave in Kearny, New Jersey, on Wednesday, according to police.

Luz Hernandez, who had been reported missing on Monday, was pronounced dead at the scene where her body was found, near Central Avenue and Third Street in Kearny, at 4:53 p.m. local time. It's an industrial area some 3.5 miles away from her home.

Authorities said her death is being considered suspicious at this time.

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Stock image of a police line do not cross tape with a police car and lights in the background. The body of a missing kindergarten teacher was found on Wednesday in Kearny, New Jersey. iStock / Getty Images

The 33-year-old kindergarten teacher worked at BelovED Community Charter School in Jersey City, reportedly a minute or two-minute walk away from her home. According to the founder of the school, Bret Schundler, Hernandez was an amazing person and a well-beloved teacher at the school, close to both staff and students.

"This will be a shock to the entire community," Schundler said, as reported by ABC7. He added that staff and students at the school were "utterly destroyed" by her loss.

Hernandez was the mother of three young children, two of whom were students at the school. The youngest is 2 years old, according to reports. The three children are now with Hernandez's mother, CBS News reported.

Hernandez's case is still wrapped in mystery. Authorities have not revealed what evidence led them to find the woman's body in the shallow grave, and there have been no arrests so far.

Police said they were notified of Hernandez's disappearance by the school after the teacher didn't show up to work on Monday. A welfare check at the woman's place led officials to believe that a crime had occurred.

"On Tuesday, February 7, 2023, the Jersey City Police Department conducted a welfare check on Van Horne Street regarding a missing person's report. The findings resulted in the Jersey City Police Department contacting the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office for assistance," wrote the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office in an update on Facebook on Wednesday.

"During the course of the investigation, the Homicide Unit located what appeared to be a shallow grave in the area of Central Avenue and Third Street in Kearny. The body of a female was recovered a short time later and she was pronounced dead at the scene at 4:53 p.m."

The cause of her death is not yet known and is pending the findings of the Regional Medical Examiner's Office.

The Hudson County Prosecutor's office is asking members of the public with any information on the case to leave an anonymous tip at the website: https://www.hudsoncountyprosecutorsofficenj.org/homicide-tip/

The Hudson County Prosecutor's Office Homicide Unit is investigating the case with the assistance of the Jersey City Police Department and the Kearny Police Department.

Newsweek has contacted BelovED Charter School and the Office of Hudson County Prosecutor for comment.

After the discovery of Hernandez's body on Wednesday, the school where she worked canceled all classes for the day.

Friends and well-wishers who knew Hernandez have been sharing her photos on Facebook, expressing sadness and disbelief at her sudden death.

"Praying for your children, family, staff, and students! You will be missed, Luz Hernandez. I'm so sorry this happened to you," wrote a Facebook user.