Brockton Superior Court: Boston Man Held Without Bail in Death of New Jersey Woman

A man charged in connection with the death of a New Jersey woman whose body was found burning near railroad tracks in Bridgewater was arraigned Thursday in Brockton and ordered held without bail by Judge C.J. Moriarity. 

43-year-old Fernando Owens was captured in the Dominican Republic, March 8th, by U.S. Marshals. 

He entered not guilty pleas to one count each of murder and aggravated kidnapping. 

“Investigators have followed the evidence that has led them from Bridgewater, to Brockton, to Dorchester and New Hampshire and most recently to the Dominican Republic,” said Plymouth County D.A. Tim Cruz

Cruz says Owens, of Boston, is charged with murder in connection with the Nov. 3 death of Ashley Bortner, originally from Paulsboro, New Jersey. Her burning and bound body was found near railroad tracks in Bridgewater.

“She was burned over 70% of her body and she was found gagged by a towel, wrapped in a blanket and hog tied with an electrical extension cord,” said Cruz.

Authorities believe Owens thinks the 29-year-old Bortner had something to do with his son’s shooting death and the killing was retribution.

Facing charges along with Owens are 41-year-old Julian Squires and 39-year-old Shannon Squires.

Charges against both Squires were upgraded to murder from accessory to murder charges.

Owens is due back in court July 15th.

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About Christine James

Christine James is the Managing News Editor, and anchor at WATD. She has been a fixture here since 1990. Along the way in her WATD newsroom journey, she has won numerous broadcast awards including the Associated Press and Edward R. Murrow National Award for "Best Newscast."