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Northern Highlands Daily Voice serves Allendale, Ho-Ho-Kus, Midland Park, Saddle River, Upper Saddle River & Waldwick

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Couple Faces Charges In Waldwick Mom's Heart Attack Death

Claudia Hernandez, Juan Francisco Martinez Rojas Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia
Juan Francisco Martinez Rojas, Claudia Hernandez Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia

WALDWICK, N.J. -- Two undocumented Salvadoran immigrants who were involved in a violent fight when the man’s mother died while their 7-year-old child watched at their borough home faces charges in her death.

Claudia Hernandez, 25,  in late July pleaded not guilty in a Hackensack courtroom to manslaughter and causing significant bodily injury to Ana Angelina Rojas-Jovel, who suffered a fatal heart attack last Nov. 10 when she tried to break up the fight between the two and suffered a heart attack.

Juan Francisco Martinez Rojas, 29, pleaded not guilty to child endangerment and lying to investigators.

Senior Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Danielle Grootenboer said she planned no plea offer “at this time.”

In addition to manslaughter and aggravated assault, Hernandez is charged with child neglect, destroying evidence of a crime, and lying to police.

The couple were “punching and scratching each other” after returning overnight to their first-floor Waldwick Avenue home from a party when Rojas-Jovel intervened, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said hours after their arrests.

Hernandez Soriano assaulted the woman, sending her into cardiac arrest, then “concealed items of evidence [that] were later found during a search of the crime scene,” the prosecutor said at the time.

Waldwick police responding to their 911 call found the victim dead on a bedroom floor, he said.

Molinelli’s detectives interviewed witnesses, including the child.

An indictment returned by a grand jury in Hackensack earlier this year accuses Hernandez of hiding large clumps of Rojas’s hair from investigators.

Both remained held in the Bergen County Jail, Hernandez on $250,000 bail and Martinez $75,000.

Both also have ICE detainers for immigration violations that will likely lead to their deportation.

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