Leiner Miranda Lopez, 26, had initially been charged with desecrating/concealing human remains, but as of Friday, March 10 was facing murder; failing to dispose of human remains in a manner prescribed by law; and tampering with physical evidence, Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez said.
Hernandez's ex-husband, Cesar Santa, was captured at a motel in Miami days after Hernandez was found dead in a shallow Kearny grave. He was charged with the same offenses as Lopez now faces.
Hernandez died of blunt force trauma to the head and compressions to the neck, after her body was found near the area of Central Avenue and Third Street in Kearny, the afternoon of Feb. 7, Suarez said.
Lopez and Santana were stopped by police on Sunday, Feb. 5 in Kearny, the day before the 33-year-old Kindergarten teacher was reported missing, Suarez said. Santana's vehicle was impounded by Kearny police because it was unregistered, the prosecutor said.
Santana became a person of interest while Jersey City police conducted a welfare check at Hernandez's Van Horne Street home on Feb. 6, Suarez said. A court authorized search warrant was executed on Santana's car, where additional evidence was recovered.
That's when Kearny police led detectives to the area near the traffic stop, where they found Hernandez's body, Suarez said.
A GoFundMe campaign for Hernandez's children had raised more than $52,000 as of Friday, March 10.
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