JERSEY CITY, N.J. (PIX11) — The estranged husband of a beloved Jersey City kindergarten teacher and mother found buried in a shallow grave has been arrested as one of two suspects in connection with the homicide case, according to officials and the victim’s family.

Cesar Santana, 36, was arrested by the New York / New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force early Friday at a Miami motel, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office said in a news release. Santana is charged with desecrating/concealing human remains, authorities said.

Santana is the estranged husband of Luz Hernandez, the 33-year-old mom of three who was found in a shallow grave in a desolate industrial area of Kearny on Tuesday, relatives of Hernandez told PIX11 News. Her death was deemed a homicide on Thursday, as investigators found evidence of blunt force trauma to her head, as well as compressions to her neck.

Relatives on Thursday had called for Santana to come forward to answer questions, saying that he would have been one of the last people to see Hernandez alive while visiting their three kids — ages 3, 9, and 12 — on Saturday morning.

Cesar Santana (left) and Leiner Miranda Lopez (right) have been identified by authorities as wanted in connection the death of Luz Hernandez, Santana’s estranged wife. Santana was arrested Feb. 10. Miranda Lopez remains at large. (Credit: Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office)

On Sunday, before Hernandez had been reported missing, police in Kearny stopped a vehicle occupied by Santana and another man, Leiner Miranda Lopez, according to the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office. The vehicle was unregistered and impounded by police. Prosecutors on Friday said that an arrest warrant alleging desecration/concealment of human remains has also been issued for Miranda Lopez, 26, but that he had not yet been apprehended. Investigators did not specify the extent or nature of the connection between Miranda Lopez, Santana, and Hernandez.

When Hernandez unexpectedly failed to show up for work Monday morning at Jersey City’s BelovED Community Charter School — which two of her children attend — she was reported missing to police.

The next day, investigators identified Santana as a person of interest, a search of the impounded car turned up relevant evidence, and the body of Hernandez was found buried in Kearny, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office said.

Santana is awaiting extradition to New Jersey, as the search for Miranda Lopez continues.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Office of the Hudson County Prosecutor at 201-915-1345 or to leave an anonymous tip at: All information will be kept confidential.