(NEW YORK) — The body of a kindergarten teacher who had been missing since Monday has been found buried in a shallow grave only a few miles away from where she lived and worked, police said.
Luz Hernandez, a 33-year-old kindergarten teacher from Jersey City, New Jersey, was first reported missing on Monday which led the Jersey City Police Department to conduct a welfare check the following day in regards to the missing person’s report, according to Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez.
“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,” Suarez said. “The body of a female was recovered a short time later and she was pronounced dead at the scene at 4:53 p.m.”
Authorities did not disclose the manner in which Hernandez died but said that the death is considered suspicious and the cause is currently pending upon the findings of the Regional Medical Examiner’s Office, Suarez said.
Hernandez worked as a kindergarten at BelovED Charter School in Jersey City — just a two-minute walk away from where she lived, according to ABC News’ New York City station WABC-TV.
The school’s founder, Bret Schundler, called Hernandez an amazing person and a wonderful kindergarten teacher who developed close relationships with staff and students, according to WABC.
“This will be a shock to the entire community,” he told WABC.
“[She was a] very pleasant woman, beautiful children. It is sad that she passed away. I feel terrible,” a neighbor identified as Monique told WABC in an interview. “She always seemed so pleasant so I really didn’t think something so severe [could happen].”
Hernandez leaves behind three young children, two of which were students at the school she taught at, according to WABC. All classes at the school were cancelled on Wednesday.
“The Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office Homicide Unit is actively investigating this case with assistance from the Jersey City Police Department and the Kearny Police Department,” said Suarez. “No arrests have been made at this time.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Office of the Hudson County Prosecutor at 201-915-1345 or to leave an anonymous tip. All information will be kept confidential.
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