New Jersey

2nd Man Charged With Murdering NJ Kindergarten Teacher — But No One Has Been Able to Find Him

One man is already in custody on a first-degree murder charge. They're still looking for this one

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A 26-year-old New Jersey man on the run for a month was charged with first-degree murder Friday in the February killing of a beloved Jersey City teacher, who was found strangled in a shallow grave after being reported missing.

The ex-boyfriend of that 33-year-old teacher previously was charged with first-degree murder in Luz Hernandez's death. The father of her three children, he was apprehended in Florida, in the Miami area, on Feb. 10 as a fugitive from justice in the teacher's death. That was three days after her remains were discovered.

Investigators had also charged a second man, 26-year-old Leiner Miranda Lopez, with desecrating human remains and now with first-degree murder in the case. Law enforcement sources say Lopez and the ex-boyfriend were involved in a traffic stop in Kearny on Feb. 5 off Central Avenue, near the spot where Hernandez's body was later discovered.

Additional evidence was also recovered from the vehicle as the result of a search warrant, though it wasn't immediately clear what was found.

While they know how the beloved teacher apparently died, investigators are still searching for the who. NBC New York's Erica Byfield reports.

Investigators have said Hernandez died of blunt force trauma and compressions to the neck. She was likely strangled with a cord after being hit in the head with something heavy, a law enforcement source previously said.

Her family had said she broke up with her ex months before her death, but the two still lived together. Authorities say they're investigating the case as a domestic violence matter. Lopez's alleged connection to the victim isn't clear.

Anyone with information on Lopez's whereabouts is asked to call prosecutors at 201-915-1345.

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