By Miguel Cruz Tejada
NEW YORK._ A bloody rope, a pick and a shovel with locks of a woman’s black hair are the new evidence found by investigators in the vehicle boarded by the Dominican César Santana (Junior), accused along with an accomplice of strangling and burying to his ex-wife, the Dominican teacher Luz Melina Hernández in New Jersey.
Santana was extradited Wednesday from Florida to New Jersey after being arrested just days after a slaying in a Miami-Dade suburb.
Prosecutors said Thursday the vehicle was impounded three days before the teacher’s body was found buried in a shallow grave in an industrial area of Kearny, New Jersey.
Santana transported the body with the help of Central American Leiner Miranda López, who fled and is still actively wanted by authorities.
An international arrest warrant is expected to be issued against him.
The ex-husband is charged with first and second degree murder, tampering with evidence, concealment of a body and possession of weapons to commit the act.
The forensic autopsy reveals that the teacher was hit on the head and strangled.
The victim was the mother of the three children of the former couple, who had separated from Santana who was reluctant to accept the break in the relationship.
Santana, 36, was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder, hindering, illegally disposing of human remains and tampering with evidence in the slaying of the 33-year-old woman via video conference.
He is scheduled to appear in court this Monday, February 27 for a dangerousness hearing where he will be denied bail.
Miranda Lopez, 26, of Jersey City, is charged with desecrating or concealing human remains for helping Santana dispose of Hernandez’s body.
The educator’s body was found on February 7. Three days later, US Marshals arrested Santana at a Miami motel or hotel on charges of desecrating or concealing human remains.
He was extradited to New Jersey late Tuesday, Hudson County District Attorney Esther Suarez’s office said in a statement.
An affidavit supporting a murder charge against Santana, quoted by NBC News, revealed that on February 4, two days before Hernandez was reported missing, her ex-husband was seen walking toward her home in the Jersey City.
An hour later, he was seen again, dragging a black and yellow dumpster from the house. The next day, Santana received a motor vehicle citation in Kearny after he and his accomplice, Miranda Lopez, were observed loading the bottle into a Honda car. The car was impounded for having an expired registration.
A search of the Honda car revealed a black and yellow container, the pickaxe, the bloody shovel, a bloodstained rope, and sheets of clear plastic covered in blood and dirt.
The affidavit indicated that clumps of black hair were also found on the shovel and rope.
After Santana reported his wife missing, police went to his home on Van Horne Street in Jersey City and found evidence of a crime, including blood in the bedroom, cleaning supplies, a mop and the faint smell of bleach. , a chemical compound that is obtained by passing electric current through a solution of common salt.
Hours after the wellness check at Hernandez’s home, investigators found his body in the area of Central Avenue and Third Street in Kearny.
An autopsy determined that Hernandez died of blunt force trauma to the head and compression to the neck.
The teacher at the BelovED Charter School in Kearny, which was just steps from her home, would have turned 34 on Friday, February 10.
Santana made his initial appearance at the Central Court of Judicial Proceedings on Wednesday to hear the new charges against him, NJ.com reported.
NEW YORK._ César Santana (Junior), accused and an accomplice of strangling and burying his ex-wife, the Dominican teacher Luz Melina Hernández, in New Jersey, against whom new evidence has been found. (Jersey City District Attorney’s Photos / Outside Source)