Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino announced today that a 17-year-old juvenile was arrested in Norfolk, Virginia and charged with the murder of 69-year-old Luz Hernandez of Orange.
The juvenile, whose name will not be released at this time because of his age, remains in custody in Norfolk, Va.
Ms. Hernandez was killed during the course of a burglary at her residence. Following an autopsy, the cause of the death was determined to be asphyxiation.
The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Homicide Unit and the Orange Police Department worked nonstop on this case and were able to develop evidence identifying the 17-year-old as the one who committed this crime.
Detectives were seeking to apprehend the juvenile on Oct. 26. 2010 and developed information that he may have fled the Essex County area. Information was further developed that the juvenile may be attempting to get to Norfolk, Va.
Essex County Prosecutor’s Office investigators contacted the Norfolk Police Department and the 17-year-old was subsequently apprehended without incident outside a bus depot last night by Norfolk Police.
The 17-year-old is currently being held in a juvenile detention facility in Norfolk, Va. pending extradition to Essex County. Once he is returned to New Jersey, he will be held in the Essex County Youth Detention Facility.
Chief Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Fennelly, head of the ECPO Homicide Unit, said the juvenile will appear in Essex County Family Court at which time the prosecutor’s office will move to have him tried as an adult.
These are mere accusations. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they are found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.